Donald J. Trump, the 76-year-old former US President became the first to ever be criminally charged, when he pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in Manhattan Criminal Court on Tuesday. This charge was related to hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential election. Trump only spoke six times during the nearly hour-long hearing before Judge Juan Merchan, including when he entered the not guilty plea.
The People have alleged that Joseph Tacopina, Trump’s attorney, has a potential conflict of interest, forcing Merchan to ensure Trump was made aware of his right to conflict-free representation. Trump received this information and calmly responded before while maintaining his plea of not guilty. He also responded with acknowledgement to when Merchan informed him that he may waive his right to be present at the proceedings if he voluntarily absents himself.
In addition, Merchan informed Trump that he would be removed from the courtroom and the proceedings continued in his absence, should he become disruptive to the point where Merchan cannot properly preside over this case. Trump acknowledged both this information and the fact that a trial and sentencing can occur in his absence if found guilty.
The Manhattan Criminal Court is part of the New York County District court, which is one of the highest judicial institutions in New York. It handles state civil court cases, criminal court, family court, and surrogate court cases for the county of New York. The goal of the court is to ensure that justice is served fairly and to ensure that residents of New York County have access to justice.
Donald Trump is a billionaire American businessman, investor, media personality, and author who served as the 45th President of the United States from 2017 to 2021. Before serving in the office of President, Trump served as the chairman and president of The Trump Organization, a real-estate development business. Trump’s business includes ownership of multiple golf courses, luxury resorts, and office buildings throughout the world. Over his long and successful career, Trump has become one of the world’s most famous businessmen. Also, he has also written multiple books and appeared in various television programs.