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‘The law finally caught up with Donald Trump’: ex-president arraigned on 34 felony charges

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Picture: Brendan McDermid/REUTERS – Former US President Donald Trump arrives at Manhattan Criminal Courthouse, in New York City, US, April 4, 2023, after his indictment by a Manhattan grand jury following a probe into hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels. “Hopefully this is the beginning of a revival and a renewal of American democracy,” said one chronicler of Trump’s business and political dealings as the former Republican and 2024 GOP candidate pleaded not guilty in a Manhattan court, the writer says.

By Brett Wilkins

Former US president and 2024 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts involving alleged hush money payments to two women during the 2016 election.

Trump surrendered to police and was fingerprinted before appearing in a Manhattan courtroom for his arraignment on charges related to six-figure payments to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal during the 2016 presidential election in attempts to silence allegations of extramarital affairs

“Donald Trump has consistently proven that he was a lawless president and unfit for public office. History will remember Donald Trump not only as the first president to be impeached twice, but the first president to be indicted on criminal charges,” US Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) said in a statement following the arraignment.

“Falsifying business records to cover up hush money payments is only the beginning of the crimes Trump has committed. He must also be held to account for conspiring to overturn an election, inciting a fascist insurrection, and fuelling white supremacist violence,” she continued.

“Today, the law has finally caught up with Donald Trump and his corrupt and reckless behaviour,” Tlaib added. “No one is above the law, no matter how rich or powerful they are. The American people deserve to see accountability handed down. Let justice be served.”

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston, who has covered Trump for decades, told Democracy Now! Tuesday morning that “hopefully this is the beginning of a revival and a renewal of American democracy”.

“There is an enormous amount of people in America, across the political spectrum, who believe that we have one set of laws for the rich and powerful, and one set of laws for them,” Johnston continued.

“This shows that we are making further progress toward the far-from-fulfilled promise of equal justice under law,” he added. “And this will not be the last indictment of Donald Trump.”

An unnamed law enforcement official told Rolling Stone that Trump declined an offer for a low-profile arraignment, opting instead for a midday booking at the Manhattan courthouse.

“He wanted a perp walk; he wanted daylight hours,” the official said. “He wants to get out of the vehicle and walk up the stairs.”

“This is a nightmare for Secret Service, but they can only strongly suggest — not order — that Trump enter through the secure tunnels,” they said. “Trump wants to greet the crowd … It’s kind of a Jesus Christ thing. He is saying, “I’m absorbing all this pain from all around from everywhere so you don’t have to’ … If they can do this to me, they can do this to you,’ and that’s a powerful message.”

While most defendants are keen to avoid publicising their arrest photos, Trump’s team created a fake mugshot for fundraising purposes.

Brett Wilkins is a staff writer for Common Dreams

This article was first published on Common Dreams