NEW YORK — In a hearing behind closed doors from television cameras, former President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to the 34 counts he faces following indictments by a Manhattan grand jury.
It was known all along that the grand jury was investigating secret payments Trump allegedly allowed his now ex-lawyer and former ally, Michael Cohen, to give to porn star Stormy Daniels during his 2016 presidential campaign for silently maintain an alleged extramarital affair.
But this Tuesday, after Trump appeared in court, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg released the full indictment document, along with a fact sheet that features some interesting revelations.
We reveal the keys to the documents. You can read them in full here.
- Trump was charged with 34 counts of first-degree falsifying business records, all in an attempt to conceal other crimes, according to court documents.
- The indictment does not say exactly what offense Prosecutor Bragg is alleging as a concealed misdemeanor, which elevated the business record violations to felonies. On the contrary, the statement of facts accompanying the indictment states that the forgery was made “to cover up criminal conduct that concealed harmful information from voters during the 2016 presidential election.”
- The indictment details two low-key cash payments made to women who alleged they had affairs with Trump, citing long-known facts.
- He also cites a third payment to a doorman who allegedly claimed Trump fathered a child with a housekeeper. The document alleges that the scheme to conceal these payments was illegal, but does not name the laws it violated. The indictment alleges a criminal scheme to conceal crucial information from voters, but the only charges mention falsifying business records.
- In a second alleged case, American Media, Inc (AMI) paid $150,000 to a woman who alleged she had a sexual relationship with the former president. When Trump allegedly explicitly ordered a lawyer then working for the Trump Organization as a “special adviser” to reimburse AMI in cash, the lawyer told Trump that the payment had to be made through a shell company. and not in cash. AMI ultimately refused to accept the refund after consulting his lawyer. AMI, who later admitted his conduct was unlawful as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors, made false entries in his business records about the true purpose of the $150,000 payment, court documents show. .
- According to court documents and court docket statements, from August 2015 to December 2017, Trump orchestrated a scheme to “catch and kill” stories through a series of payments that he then concealed for months. fake trade entries. .
- When AMI later concluded the allegation was false, its chief executive wanted to back out of the deal but was instructed by Trump’s attorney not to do so until after the presidential election, the documents show.
- In a third case, 12 days before the general presidential election, the special counsel allegedly transferred $130,000 to a porn actress’ lawyer. The aide has since pleaded guilty and served jail time for illegally contributing to the campaign. Although Michael Cohen was not named by name, Cohen is a key witness in this case and pleaded guilty in federal court in 2018 to making an unlawful payment to Daniels.
- After winning the election, Trump reportedly reimbursed special legal counsel through a series of monthly checks, first from the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust, established in New York to hold the assets of the Trump Organization during the TRUMP presidency, then Trump’s bank. account.
- A total of 11 checks were written for forged purposes, according to court documents from the Manhattan district attorney. Nine of those checks were reportedly signed by Trump. Each check was treated by the Trump Organization as payment for legal services rendered with a non-existent warrant. In all, 34 “false reports” were made in New York business records to conceal the hidden deposit of $130,000. In addition, the participants in the scheme took actions that misrepresented, for tax reasons, the true nature of the refunds.
“Residents of New York State allege that Donald J. Trump repeatedly and fraudulently falsified New York City business records to cover up crimes that concealed harmful information from voters during the 2016 presidential election,” said prosecutor Bragg.
“Manhattan is home to the largest business market in the country. We cannot allow New York businesses to manipulate their records to conceal criminal behavior. As described in the statement of facts, the trail of money and lies reveals a pattern that the people believe violates one of New York’s fundamental business laws. As this office has done time and time again, today we uphold our solemn responsibility to ensure that all are equal before the law. »
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