Then-President Donald Trump made 34 false statements in business records in order to “cover up crimes related to the 2016 election,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg claimed during a press conference after Trump pled “not guilty” to the charges in New York court on Tuesday.

Bragg accused Trump of hatching what he called “a catch-and-kill scheme” to “suppress negative information to help Mr. Trump’s chance of winning the election.”

Trump pleaded “not guilty” on the 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first degree on Tuesday. The indictment was released following his plea.

Bragg’s office brought the charges following a yearslong investigation into Trump’s payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. Clifford has claimed that she had an affair with Trump in 2016 and that she received $130,000 in “hush money” payments from the president-to-be.

Trump has denied that he had an affair with Clifford, who was formerly represented by disgraced attorney Michael Avenatti. Trump sued Clifford for defamation, and a judge in March 2022 ultimately ordered that she pay him almost $300,000.

Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations regarding a $130,000 payment to Daniels, which Trump reimbursed, toward the end of the 2016 campaign. Attorney Craig Engle wrote for The Daily Signal that Cohen actually did not violate campaign finance laws.

Hundreds of passionate supporters and opponents of Trump turned out Tuesday for his scheduled arrest and arraignment at Manhattan Criminal Court, creating a carnival-like scene, The Daily Signal’s Jarrett Stepman reported from on site.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis slammed Bragg for allegedly twisting the law, citing the money left-wing billionaire George Soros spent to support the Manhattan DA.

“The Soros-backed Manhattan district attorney has consistently bent the law to downgrade felonies and to excuse criminal misconduct. Yet, now he is stretching the law to target a political opponent,” DeSantis added.

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