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Former US President Donald Trump pleads not guilty to 34 felony counts – what we know so far

Trump termed the case against him as fake and alleged the charges were brought up against him to interfere with the upcoming 2024 election.

On April 4 (local time), former United States (US) President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records while appearing in New York Court. After the court appearance, he went to his Florida home to address his supporters. In his remarks, he said, “I never thought anything like this could happen in America. The only crime I have committed to fearlessly defend our nation.” He pointed to the alleged political vendetta and said, “Our country is going to hell.”

Trump termed the case against him as fake and alleged the charges were brought up against him to interfere with the upcoming 2024 election. He demanded the case should be “dropped immediately”. Trump is the frontrunner in the presidential elections scheduled for 2024. During his address, Trump targeted the Joe Biden administration and alleged that the ‘radical left’ prosecutors wanted to get him at “any cost”.

Lashing out at President Biden, Trump said, “Hunter-Biden laptop exposes Biden family as criminals & according to pollsters would have made a 17-point difference in the election result, we needed a lot less than that, it would have been in our favour because our country is going to hell.” Trump had surrendered before the appearance. He remained in police custody for a while, where his fingerprints and mug shots were taken.

The case against Donald Trump

As per the case filed against former President Donald Trump, he was accused of paying off two women before the 2016 US Elections to suppress the details of alleged sexual encounters with him. As he was charged on Tuesday (April 4), Trump became the first-ever sitting or former US President in history to face criminal charges.

In a statement, prosecutor Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg accused Trump of falsifying US business records. He said, “The defendant Donald J. Trump falsified New York business records to conceal an illegal conspiracy to undermine the integrity of the 2016 presidential election and other violations of election laws.” Notably, the judge hearing the matter has asked the former President to refrain from making any social media posts that may incite violence or civil unrest. Judge’s remarks came following prosecutors’ mentioning of Trump’s social media posts, including an allegedly threatening one where he used words like “death and destruction”.

Trump has been accused of paying $150,000 and $130,000 to women who had sex with him in the past. Bragg said he would not allow Trump to get away with a string of felonies over hush money payments. He said, “These are felony crimes in New York State. No matter who you are, we cannot and will not normalize serious criminal conduct. We today uphold our solemn responsibility to ensure that everyone stands equal before the law.”

Trump was released from custody after the hearing. The trial may begin in January 2024, a few months before the scheduled US presidential elections.

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