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Donald Trump pleads not guilty to 34 felony counts

Former US president Donald Trump looks on as he appears in court at the Manhattan Criminal Court in New York on April 4, 2023. Photo by Seth WENIG / POOL / AFP)

Former President Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony criminal charges of falsifying business records in Manhattan criminal court Tuesday afternoon.

Trump was arraigned in a historic and unprecedented court appearance, in which the former president heard the charges against him for the first time.

Prosecutors alleged that Trump sought to undermine the integrity of the 2016 election through a hush money scheme with payments made to women who claimed they had extramarital affairs with Trump. He has denied the affairs.

Trump was part of an unlawful plan to suppress negative information, including an illegal payment of $130,000 that was ordered by the defendant to suppress the negative information that would hurt his campaign, prosecutors alleged.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said at a news conference after the arraignment that the indictment did not specify what laws Trump broke because “the law does not so require.”

The evidence, Bragg said, will be “borne out in a public courtroom in downtown Manhattan,” he said.

Trump became the first ever sitting or former US president to be arrested, arraigned and fingerprinted on criminal charges.

Trump, is the first former U.S. president to face criminal charges. He is to be arraigned, fingerprinted and photographed at the downtown Manhattan courthouse on Tuesday.

But for now, he make his way to Trump Tower, his residence in Manhattan.

New York City police have thrown up metal barriers around Trump Tower and blocked roads near Manhattan Criminal Courthouse as they brace for potential protests ahead of Donald Trump’s expected surrender to prosecutors on Tuesday.

BBC reports that Mr. Trump will be facing more than 30 charges related to business fraud over a $130,000 pay-out to Stormy Daniels in 2016.

Writing by Chinasa Ossai; Editing by Annabel Nwachukwu & Adeniyi Bakare