Former President Donald J. Trump on Tuesday afternoon turned himself in to authorities in Manhattan to face 34 indictments.
Trump denounced the Manhattan District Attorney’s office for “an interference at a scale never seen before” in the 2024 elections, in which he is the leading candidate for the Republican party’s nomination.
Law enforcement agencies had been preparing for mass protests outside the court building, but only a relatively small group of Trump supporters, including Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga), were on hand to protest what they called a political witch hunt by Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg.
The 34 felony charges of falsifying business records in the first degree––in violation of state and federal election laws––stem from a payment that was made by Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen to porn star Stormy Daniels in October 2016, a few weeks before the presidential elections. Cohen confessed in 2018 that he had paid Daniels $130,000, for which Trump later reimbursed him in the White House.
Trump, who was accompanied by armed Secret Service agents who protect him at all times as a former president, was released on his own recognizance after his arraignment. There was no demand for bail because in NY State individuals accused of non-violent crimes cannot be remanded or required to be bailed.
Back at his estate in Mar-a-Lago, Florida, the former president said, “I never thought anything like this could happen in America.”
He added: The only crime that I’ve committed is to furiously defend our nation from those who seek to destroy it.”
There are several problems with the case against Donald Trump. First, there’s the credibility of his former attorney, Michael Cohen, who served time in prison after confessing to several crimes. Second: this will be the first time the prosecution will attempt to push a charge of falsifying business records into becoming a charge of violating state election law, and in a presidential election nonetheless. Even if he is convicted, which is not a sure thing at all, Trump will likely not spend any time in jail.