OAN Geraldyn Berry
UPDATED 3:46 PM – Tuesday, April 4, 2023
New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg held a news conference on Tuesday following former President Donald Trump’s arraignment with the purpose of explaining the charges that were in the indictment.
In the conference, Bragg accused Trump of making “threatening” social media posts which he claimed could have an effect on jurors and witnesses. In addition, the prosecutor criticized Trump for his Truth Social posting.
Truth Social is a social media platform created by Trump Media & Technology Group, an American media and technology company founded by former U.S. president Donald Trump. It has been called a competitor to Parler and Gab in trying to provide an uncensored alternative to Twitter and Facebook.
The DA alleged that in order to “conceal damaging information and illegal activity from American voters before and after the 2016 election,” Trump fabricated New York company records.
Between August 2015 and December 2017, Trump allegedly “orchestrated a ‘catch and kill’ scheme through a series of payments that he then concealed through months of false business entries,” according to the indictment.
“During the election, TRUMP and others employed a ‘catch and kill’ scheme to identify, purchase, and bury negative information about him and boost his electoral prospects,” Bragg said. “TRUMP then went to great lengths to hide this conduct, causing dozens of false entries in business records to conceal criminal activity, including attempts to violate state and federal election laws.”
Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first degree after hearing charges against him stemming from a hush money payment to an adult film actress in 2016. He was in the courtroom for approximately an hour before he was released.
A charge of falsifying business records in the first degree, according to New York state law, asserts that the defendant committed a crime of falsifying business records with the purpose to defraud. The intention to conduct another crime would be the intention to defraud.
According to Bragg, American Media Inc., the National Enquirer’s parent company, paid $30,000 to a former doorman for Trump Tower who claimed to have information about a kid Trump had outside of marriage. The company paid $150,000 to a woman, presumably former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who alleged a sexual relationship with Trump.
To add, Trump had allegedly “explicitly directed a lawyer,” an apparent reference to Michael Cohen, to “reimburse” American Media Inc. in cash. About “12 days before the presidential general election,” Cohen had wired $130,000 to an attorney for an adult film actress Stormy Daniels.
Bragg alleged that after the election, Trump reimbursed Cohen with “11 checks” which were “first from the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust – created in New York to hold the Trump Organization’s assets during TRUMP’s presidency – and later from TRUMP’s bank account.”
“Nine of those checks were signed by TRUMP. Each check was processed by the Trump Organization and illegally disguised as a payment for legal services rendered pursuant to a non-existent retainer agreement. In total, 34 false entries were made in New York business records to conceal the initial covert $130,000 payment,” Bragg said. “Further, participants in the scheme took steps that mischaracterized, for tax purposes, the true nature of the reimbursements.”
Trump’s arraignment makes American history, as he is the first former president to stand before a judge to answer for criminal charges.
Trump is reportedly heading back to Florida, where he is expected to deliver remarks later in the evening at Mar-a-Lago. The next court hearing is set for December 4th.
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