Donald Trump arrested in New York

Former US president Donald Trump surrendered to police yesterday in Manhattan, where he pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records. During his arraignment, Trump became the first former president criminally prosecuted in US history. 

While Trump has been impeached twice by Congress - also a first for any US president - he has previously avoided legal consequences in both his personal and professional life.

The charges brought against Trump are connected to a 130,000 dollar "hush money" transaction carried out by his previous lawyer, Michael Cohen. This payment aimed to prevent adult film star Stormy Daniels from discussing her alleged affair with Trump in the lead-up to the 2016 election. This is not a crime in itself, unless it is used as a tool of deceit during presidential campaigns, in which case it violates federal campaign finance law.

"Everyone stands equal before the law"

Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg says Trump falsified the true nature of the payments, which is grounds for prosecution. “As this office has done time and time again, we today uphold our solemn responsibility to ensure that everyone stands equal before the law,” Bragg told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday. “Everyone stands equal before the law. No amount of money and no amount of power changes that enduring American principle.”

Trump was released after his arraignment and flown immediately back to his home in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, where he voiced grievances against his political rivals and the prosecution.

While a trial date has not been set, prosecutors suggest January 2024. Trump's lawyers are pushing for a date in spring 2024. There are several other criminal procedures Trump may have to contend with in the meantime. In Fulton County, Georgia, a district attorney is investigating his attempt to interfere with the 2020 election results in the state. In Washington D.C., an investigation is being carried out by a special counsel regarding his mishandling of national security secrets after leaving office and his attempt to disrupt a peaceful transition of power after losing the election in 2020.

The full indictment by the Supreme Court of the State of New York can be read here.



Former US president Donald Trump arrives at the Manhattan Criminal Court in New York on 4 April 2023 © PHOTO ED JONES / AFP

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