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Former President Donald Trump was charged by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg with 34 felony counts for the falsification of business records stemming from the hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, according to a 16-page indictment unsealed Tuesday by Judge Juan Merchan.
Trump was arraigned on the charges inside Manhattan Criminal Court on Tuesday afternoon. The former president was not put in handcuffs, placed in a jail cell or subjected to a mug shot — typical procedures even for white-collar defendants.
He pleaded not guilty and was released.
Falsification of business records can be prosecuted in New York state as a misdemeanor. But Bragg’s office bumped up all the charges to Class E felonies — the lowest level of felonies in the New York state penal code — on the grounds that the conduct was intended to conceal another underlying crime.
Trump is the first U.S. president ever to face criminal charges.
Hundreds of people gathered outside the courthouse for a glimpse of Trump, who waved to supporters upon his arrival and departure. He flew back to Florida, where railed against Bragg, Merchan and Merchan's family at an event at Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday evening.