- Trump scheduled a speech at 8:15 p.m. from Mar-a-Lago.
- A lawyer for key witness Michael Cohen contends he has evidence to back up hush money payments.
Donald Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts Tuesday in New York, a historic moment as the first former president ever to face criminal charges and a dramatic backdrop for the 2024 presidential race as he campaigns again for the White House.
- Trump surrenders: Trump surrendered at Manhattan District Attorney’s Office at 1:23 p.m. EST and was placed under arrest.
- Trump pleads not guilty: He pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in connection with hush money payments to women who claimed to have had sex with him.
- What’s at stake: The high-stakes case represents risks for Trump, who faces possible criminal penalties if convicted, and also Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who Republicans including Trump have vilified as politically motivated.
- What was grand jury investigating?: Witnesses said Trump arranged for his former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, to pay two women for their silence before the 2016 election.
- 2024 election: Trump denied wrongdoing and noted Cohen is a convicted liar. Trump’s rivals for the GOP nomination have criticized Bragg, with some saying voters should decide the former president’s fate.
Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen remains a central figure in the criminal case outlined Tuesday against the former president.
But court documents unsealed by Manhattan prosecutors also suggest that former tabloid publisher David Pecker is likely to co-star at any future trial.
Pecker, the former chairman of American Media Inc., was not only a central player in the alleged hush money scheme involving adult film star Stormy Daniels, but the company also is intertwined with similar payments to silence former Playboy model Karen McDougal about a long-running affair and a former Trump Tower doorman, who claimed knowledge of a child Trump allegedly fathered out of wedlock.
Until Tuesday, the case against Trump was largely believed to be centered on the $130,000 payment to Daniels in the final weeks of the 2016 campaign.
But Bragg said Tuesday that the case against Trump is “not just one $130,000 wire payment.”
The broader case likely elevates Pecker’s role in it and helps explain Pecker’s second appearance before a Manhattan grand jury last week before prosecutors had disclosed the panel had returned a sealed indictment against the former president.
– Kevin Johnson
What are Trump’s 34 charges?:He’s accused of falsifying business records in hush-money payments
In a scathing account of Donald Trump’s alleged criminal conduct, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said Tuesday that the former president repeatedly engaged his former attorney Michael Cohen and a tabloid publisher to bury damaging information to protect his 2016 presidential campaign.
Bragg, appearing after the arraignment of the former president on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, asserted that Trump directed a scheme resulting in the payment of hundreds of thousands of dollars to silence two alleged mistresses and a former Trump Tower doorman from going public with accounts that threatened his campaign.
Bragg said Trump engaged in the alleged conduct to “cover up other crimes” to further his political campaign.
The district attorney’s case underscores the alleged role of tabloid publisher American Media Inc., to serve as a back channel for the payments to the doorman, who claimed to have knowledge of a child Trump fathered out of wedlock, along with separate hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal.
– Kevin Johnson
Donald Trump pleaded not guilty Tuesday to 34 felony counts for allegedly falsifying business records in connection with thousands of dollars in hush money payments to multiple people, marking the first time a former president has faced criminal charges.
The charges were unsealed after Trump was escorted by his Secret Service detail to the custody of New York authorities in a surreal scene in which helicopters tracked his motorcade from Trump Tower to the courthouse in lower Manhattan.
Asked for his plea inside a packed courtroom, a grim-faced Trump said simply: “Not guilty.”
– Kevin Johnson
The case brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg went beyond the $130,000 hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels, to include a $30,000 payment to a former Trump Tower doorman, “who claimed to have a story about a child Trump had out of wedlock,” prosecutors asserted.
Prosecutors referenced another $150,000 payment, that appeared to track a separate allocation to former Playboy model Karen McDougal to silence her about an alleged long-running affair prior to the 2016 election.
Trump, prosecutors said, “falsified New York business records to conceal crimes that hid damaging information from the voting public during the 2016 presidential election.”
– Kevin Johnson
Donald Trump sat quietly at the defense table, flanked by his legal team throughout most of an arraignment that ran nearly an hour.
Wearing a blue suit and signature red tie, Trump appeared to listen attentively as prosecutors described his alleged crimes as attempts to “disguise monthly payments” to protect his political fortunes.
– Zach Wichter
Donald Trump’s lawyers said he is mad about the indictment, but determined to fight the allegations in court and on the campaign trail.
“He’s frustrated, he’s upset,” attorney Todd Blanche told reporters in New York. “It’s not going to stop him.”
The attorneys said a state prosecutor is essentially protesting campaign finance law, and predicted it would not pass legal muster.
“It’s unjustified,” said Trump attorney Susan Necheles.
– David Jackson
Donald Trump’s lawyers called Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s 34-count indictment “disappointing” for the lack of detail. Todd Blanche, one of the lawyers, said the indictment doesn’t allege what statements were false.
“It’s really disappointing. It’s sad,” Blanche said. “We’re going to fight it and we’re going to fight it hard.”
Blanche described Trump as upset the district attorney brought a case that wasn’t justified.
The lawyers said Acting Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan admonished everyone in the case, including witnesses, to consider their public comments.
“He did not admonish the president,” lawyer Joe Tacopina said.
Trump pleads not guilty in historic first case of criminal charges against a former president, reports say
Donald Trump pleaded not guilty Tuesday in New York to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the unprecedented case of the first criminal charges against a former U.S. president in history.
His plea came in response to a Manhattan grand jury’s indictment of Trump on Thursday. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg had been investigating Trump’s role in hush-money payments his former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, arranged with two women who claimed to have had sex with him before the 2016 election.
– Bart Jansen
The district attorney’s office released a copy of the indictment against Trump and an accompanying statement of facts. Read the documents on USA TODAY’s website here.
Read the whole indictment:Donald Trump charged with crimes in New York
A grim-faced Donald Trump appeared in a Manhattan courtroom with his attorneys Tuesday just before his scheduled arraignment.
Trump looked toward still photographers permitted inside the courtroom, as his attorneys Todd Blanche, Susan Necheles and Joe Tacopina flanked him.
– Kevin Johnson and David Jackson
Donald Trump and his lawyer Joe Tacopina headed into the Manhattan courtroom about 2:30 p.m. for his arraignment as the first president ever to face criminal charges.
Trump looked stern as he walked down a hall toward the courtroom. He was set to be arraigned on unspecified charges from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s investigation of hush payments before the 2016 election.
– Bart Jansen
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg headed to the courtroom about 2:10 p.m. before Donald Trump’s arraignment on the first charges ever against a former president.
Bragg has a long history investigating Trump, his namesake company and foundation at the city and state level as chief deputy attorney general. Bragg’s office won convictions against two parts of the Trump Organization and against its chief financial officer, but Tuesday’s case represented the first criminal charges against Trump.
– Bart Jansen
Alvin Bragg v. Donald Trump:Inside Manhattan DA’s latest legal tangle with former president
Former President Donald Trump is using a fake mugshot to raise money for his presidential campaign and a related fund that has paid for a slew of expenses including lawyers.
The latest fundraising email, sent before his arraignment began, shows a black-and-white picture with Trump’s face in front of a height chart with a fake nameplate in front of him referencing him as the 45th and 47th president. Below the picture is an all caps, “NOT GUILTY.”
Experts said before the arraignment they did not expect Trump to take a mugshot.
– Erin Mansfield
Donald Trump has surrendered to New York authorities at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, where he will be processed and later arraigned as the first former president to face criminal prosecution.
Trump arrived at the DA’s office at 1:23 p.m. EST following a short trip from his Trump Tower residence. He is accompanied by his Secret Service detail, which is expected to be at his side through the process, including his appearance before a judge in the Criminal Courts Building in lower Manhattan.
Trump, who has denied the charges, is expected to enter a not guilty plea in court, according to his lawyers, and then be freed on his own recognizance given the non-violent nature of the charges.
Will Trump get a mugshot?:Why his lawyer says not to expect one after indictment.
The term “arrest” in cases like this is a technical one – it usually applies to people who are busted at the scene of a crime or suspects who are flight risks or have already fled from the law.
But, yes, Trump was arrested Tuesday, the first former president in history to undergo that experience.
Trump, indicted for business fraud, surrendered to authorities Tuesday and that led to an “arrest” and a reading of the allegations against him.
And certainly Trump himself considered himself under arrest.
“Heading to Lower Manhattan, the Courthouse,” he said on his Truth Social account. “Seems so SURREAL — WOW, they are going to ARREST ME. Can’t believe this is happening in America. MAGA!”
– David Jackson
Former President Donald Trump issued a short message on his TruthSocial social media platform just before surrendering to authorities at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday, saying his imminent arrest felt “surreal.”
“Heading to Lower Manhattan, the Courthouse,” Trump posted minutes before arriving at the Hogan Building at approximately 1:23 p.m. “Seems so SURREAL — WOW, they are going to ARREST ME. Can’t believe this is happening in America. MAGA!”
Trump then left his black limousine, surrounded by his Secret Service protective detail and what looked like a few lawyers and aides ,entered the building and surrendered and was placed under arrest.
– Josh Meyer
Donald Trump arrived at the Manhattan courthouse Tuesday after a brief motorcade from his Trump Tower residence.
Wearing a serious expression, he exited an armored vehicle, gave a wave and turned with his Secret Service detail who escorted the former president to the custody of New York authorities.
It was less than dramatic, except for the television helicopters.
As the TV cameras whirred from above, Trump simply entered the district attorney’s office – the Hogan building – surrounded by Secret Serve and what looked like a few lawyers and aides.
– Kevin Johnson
Marjorie Taylor Greene in NY:As Marjorie Taylor Greene leads protest against Trump indictment, NYC mayor has a message for her
Stormy Daniels, a pornographic film actress central to the Manhattan hush money investigation, alleged that former President Donald Trump had consensual sex with her in 2006 – months after Melanie Trump gave birth.
Trump’s then-attorney and personal fixer, Michael Cohen, paid $130,000 to Daniels just before the 2016 election to silence claims that she had an affair with Trump after she was willing to go public about the scandal.
Daniels’ longtime lawyer Clark Brewster told USA TODAY she was surprised when she heard the news about Trump’s indictment, even though a few weeks ago, she said she would “dance down the street” if Trump was indicted.
– Sudiksha Kochi
President Joe Biden is staying silent on former President Donald Trump’s arraignment despite having had plenty to say about the Jan. 6, 2021, attacks on the Capitol because the incidents are very different, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday.
The insurrection at the Capitol, she said, was an attack on democracy.
Trump, on the other hand, is being arraigned as part of an ongoing criminal investigation, Jean-Pierre added.
“And so, it was a different moment and a different time,” she said when pressed on why Biden is using the fact that Trump’s case is continuing as a reason not to comment when he talked about Jan. 6 while criminal cases were being made against accused insurrectionists.
“We’re not going to politically interfere from here,” Jean-Pierre emphasized about the Manhattan District Attorney’s case against Trump.
After a years-long investigation, Trump was indicted by a grand jury last Thursday in connection with hush-money payments intended to silence two women who claimed to have had sex with the former president. Trump directed Michael Cohen, his former lawyer and fixer, to make the payments to silence Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal in the days before the 2016 election.
While the payments were not necessarily illegal, the charges, soon to be unveiled Tuesday, are expected to allege that Trump falsified business records related to the hush-money payments.
Trump and his legal team have denied wrongdoing and plan to fight the charges.
– Ken Tran
President Joe Biden, like the rest of the nation, may not be able to avoid seeing footage of his predecessor being arraigned in New York Tuesday.
But that doesn’t mean he’s paying attention, his spokeswoman said.
“Of course, this is playing out on many of the networks here on a daily basis for hours and hours. So obviously he will catch part of the news when he has a moment to catch up on the news of the day,” Jean-Pierre said at her daily briefing. “But this is not his focus for today.”
She repeated past comments that the White House will not comment “on any ongoing case.”
“Our focus right now is on the American people,” she said.
– Maureen Groppe
Chuck Schumer: Trump will get fair trial; protests must be peaceful
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Trump would get a fair trial that follows the facts and law. But Schumer, who fled the mob that ransacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, also insisted any protests against the charges must remain peaceful.
“There’s no place in our justice system for any outside influence or intimidation in the legal process,” Schumer said in a statement. “AS the trial proceeds, protest is an American right but all protests must be peaceful.”
Donald Trump left his namesake Manhattan residence Tuesday afternoon on his way to surrender to New York authorities as the first former president to face criminal prosecution.
Accompanied by his Secret Service detail, the former president’s motorcade is expected to travel the estimated four miles to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office where he will be processed and later arraigned.
Trump’s surrender has been transformed into a public spectacle, as cameras have tracked his movements since leaving his Florida estate Monday.
– Kevin Johnson
Donald Trump is not expected to be subjected to a mug shot following his surrender to New York authorities, the former president’s attorney Joe Tacopina said Tuesday.
The attorney did not elaborate on the reason, but a person familiar with the matter said the decision was ultimately made by the district attorney’s office.
Because Trump is the first former president in history to face criminal charges, there was much anticipation that such a photograph would go viral or that Trump could use it as a fundraising tool in his bid to reclaim the White House.
– Kevin Johnson
The arraignment marks the start of criminal proceedings. Bragg announced the indictment Thursday and is expected to unveil the detailed charges Tuesday.
Trump is expected to have his mug shot and fingerprints taken, have the formal charges read and then plead not guilty “loudly and proudly,” his lawyer Joe Tacopina told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. But the details haven’t been nailed down because the Secret Service will accompany Trump, Tacopina said.
However the New York case is resolved, Trump faces other investigations in Georgia over alleged election fraud and from the Justice Department over whether he incited the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack and the discovery of hundreds of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
Trump has boasted about overcoming previous investigations including special counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election and two House impeachments that resulted in Senate acquittals over his dealings with Ukraine and his role in the Capitol attack.
Trump to go on legal assault, experts say:Donald Trump expected to unleash wave of legal challenges after Tuesday arraignment in New York
Trump’s arraignment spectacle:Donald Trump plans to turn his arraignment into a political spectacle. Here’s how.
Cheers, boos and whistles drowned out Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., as she spoke briefly outside the Manhattan Criminal Court building before Donald Trump’s arraignment on criminal charges.
One attendee, Christina Lo, 61, a Manhattan retiree who supports Trump, called his indictment political persecution by Democrats.
“They had to wait until he declared his presidential run,” she said.
Dion Cini, 54, of Brooklyn, carried a large “Trump or death” flag to show his support for the former president.
“It’s a tragedy what’s happening in New York City today,” Cini said, adding the case could help the candidate running for the White House in 2024. “I think Donald Trump is going to get 20 points in the polls.”
– Eduardo Cuevas and Zach Wichter
NYC mayor’s message to Greene:As Marjorie Taylor Greene leads protest against Trump indictment, NYC mayor has a message for her
After New York charges against him are unsealed, Donald Trump could pursue a number of legal challenges that could delay any eventual trial, according to legal experts.
Trump could try to dismiss the case, change the venue where it is heard and perhaps seek to have a new judge preside. If the charges are falsifying business records as expected, Sarah Krissoff, a former federal prosecutor, said Trump lawyers could claim the alleged violations are too old or exceed the statute of limitations of two to five years.
Trump has said in a social media post Thursday that Acting Supreme Court Justice Juan Mercan hates him, after presiding over a criminal case against the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer.
“It is an understatement to say that he (Trump) has a litigious style,” said Joshua Ritter, a former Los Angeles County prosecutor. “You’re going to see challenges to everything, every step of the way.”
– Kevin Johnson and David Jackson
Trump expected to go on legal assault:Donald Trump expected to unleash wave of legal challenges after Tuesday arraignment in New York
Former President Donald Trump continues to seek political donations after his indictment, using anti-Semitic tropes that blame Democratic philanthropist George Soros in addition to longstanding themes he’s used like attacking investigations of him as witch hunts.
Soros is a frequent target of antisemitic attacks on the far-right even in his home country of Hungary. As recently as Sunday, according to an archive at politicalemails.org, a campaign email referred to Alvin Bragg, the prosecutor whose office brought the case to the New York grand jury, as “George Soros’ hand-picked and funded Manhattan DA.”
Money raised by these emails will be split between Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign and a fund called Save America that has spent millions since the 2020 election paying lawyers who have worked for Trump, including on the case that prompted the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago.
– Erin Mansfield
Two House Republican chairmen opposed an anticipated gag order on Donald Trump pending his New York trial.
Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, head of the Judiciary Committee, and James Comer, head of the Oversight and Accountability Committee, called any potential order from Acting Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan against Trump speaking about the charges unconstitutional.
“We are deeply concerned by reports the New York District Attorney may seek an unconstitutional gag order,” the chairmen said in a joint statement. “To put any restrictions on the ability of President Trump to discuss his mistreatment at the hands of this politically motivated prosecutor would only further demonstrate the weaponization of the New York justice system.”
— Bart Jansen
Steel barriers lined streets near the courthouse, roads were closed, and traffic was diverted across a swath of Manhattan on Tuesday in preparation for the arraignment of Trump.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Monday urged potential protesters to follow police instructions and threatened anyone who becomes violent with arrest. Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said the department has been preparing for the arraignment for weeks.
“I will remind everyone that violence and destruction are not part of legitimate lawful expression,” he said at a briefing Monday. “It will never be tolerated in our city.”
Trump called on his supporters to take to the streets of New York City and protest his arrest.
— John Bacon and Zach Wichter
As it stands now, Trump is scheduled to leave his self-named tower around 1 p.m. for the trip to the district attorney’s office and courthouse that should take about a half-an-hour, according to his schedule.
After a formal surrender and processing, Trump is scheduled for arraignment at 2:15 p.m.
The schedule anticipates a 3 p.m. departure from the courthouse to the airport for the trip to Mar-a-Lago.
Trump is scheduled to arrive back at his Palm Beach home in time for an 8:15 p.m. speech to supporters.
All of this is subject to change depending on events.
– David Jackson
Witnesses before the Manhattan grand jury have described hush-money payments Trump directed former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen to make to silence two women who claimed to have had sex with Trump before the 2016 election.
Legal experts expect a combination of misdemeanor charges alleging falsification of business records about the payments, combined with a felony such as a campaign finance violation.
But Trump has denied wrongdoing and Tacopina said there is no documentation of false business records.
“All of the Tuesday stuff is very much up in the air except that we will very loudly and proudly say not guilty,” Tacopina said. “We’re not doing anything at the arraignment because that would be showmanship and nothing more because we haven’t even seen the indictment.”
– Bart Jansen
The New York judge tentatively assigned to preside at Donald Trump’s arraignment is familiar with players in the former president’s orbit.
Acting Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan oversaw the fraud trial of Trump’s namesake real estate company and the related Trump Payroll Corporation, which ended in December with a conviction and $1.6 million in fines.
Merchan also oversaw the sentencing of former Trump financial chief Allen Weisselberg, whose testimony in the fraud case helped secure the convictions.
Trump has harshly criticized Merchan in posts on his social media company, Truth Social.
“The Judge ‘assigned’ to my Witch Hunt Case, a ‘Case’ that has NEVER BEEN CHARGED BEFORE, HATES ME,” Trump wrote in one post.
– Kevin Johnson, Josh Meyer, David Jackson
What is an arraignment?:What the legal proceeding means ahead of Trump’s appearance Tuesday.
Who is judge in Trump arraignment?:Juan Merchan, judge in Trump Organization trial, expected to preside at Trump arraignment
Tacopina and Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny Davis, foreshadowed the fight over credibility in any eventual trial.
Tacopina called Cohen a convicted liar who “is constitutionally incapable of telling the same story the same way twice.” Tacopina said there is no documentation of Trump falsifying business records.
“I know there is no such evidence,” Tacopina said. “Michael Cohen is a pathological, convicted liar.”
Davis said Cohen and other witnesses have provided testimony and documentation. Cohen has already been imprisoned in part because he arranged for $280,000 in hush payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.
“Michael Cohen submitted a lot of documentation,” Davis said. “There are other documents from other people and other testimony from other people.”
– Bart Jansen
New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Monday urged potential protesters for Donald Trump’s arraignment – he singled out Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. – to be on their best behavior and threatened anyone who becomes violent with arrest.
“While there may be some rabble-rousers thinking about coming to our city tomorrow, our message is clear and simple: control yourselves,” Adams said.
He said there were no specific threats. But he said people like Greene, “who is known to spread misinformation and hate speech,” are expected to visit the city. New York Young Republicans announced she would attend a 10:30 a.m. rally Tuesday at Collect Pond Park.
“While you are in town, be on your best behavior,” Adams said.
– Bart Jansen
What is a grand jury?:Here’s what to know about the jury that voted to indict Trump.
Stormy Daniels says she is “kind of numb” now that the hush-money investigation stemming from her alleged affair with Donald Trump in 2006 has led to his criminal indictment – and that it has prompted death threats against her.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, told the Times UK that the charges by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office amount to a vindication of her efforts to hold the former president accountable. But in her first interview since Trump’s indictment last Thursday, she said the as-yet-unspecific charges have put her in more personal danger than ever before.
“The first time it was like gold digger, slut, whore. You know, liar, whatever and this time it’s like, ‘I’m gonna murder you,’ “ she said of the threatening messages she has been getting.
– Josh Meyer
Stormy Daniels faces threats:Stormy Daniels’ accusations against Trump prompt post-indictment death threats, she says