4:45 p.m. ET: Justice Merchan did not issue a gag order. Trump's legal team did not mention a venue change during the proceeding according to a Fox News producer present in the room. The next hearing date was set for December 4. Trump proceeded directly from the hearing to LaGuardia airport and did not speak to the press. District Attorney Alvin Bragg held a press conference during which he fielded a limited number of questions from reporters. The DA's office released the indictment and a statement of fact document.
Former President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsification of business records Tuesday afternoon at the Manhattan Criminal Court building.
A somber-faced President Trump said nothing as he entered the courtroom.
Trump signaled a few hours ahead of the trial that his team would likely call for a change of venue and for the judge’s recusal.
In a post to Truth Social around 10:00 a.m., Trump called the venue “very unfair,” adding that some areas “voted 1% Republican.” Trump proposed Staten Island as a more “fair and secure” location for the trial.
In the same post, Trump called the judge at his then-upcoming arraignment “highly partisan” and added that he and his family were “Trump haters.” He also mentioned that the judge declined to recuse himself in a former Trump-related case. In addition, he said that the judge’s daughter worked for Vice President Kamala Harris and now works for the Biden-Harris campaign.
“Kangaroo Court,” Trump wrote.
Trump appeared before New York Justice Juan Merchan Tuesday afternoon, alongside his legal team.
Justice Merchan, who oversaw the grand jury that delivered Trump’s indictment, also presided over two unrelated tax fraud cases involving Trump. Neither case resulted in a favorable outcome for the former president, Politico reported Monday.
Though Trump says Merchan was “hand picked” by District Attorney Alvin Bragg and the prosecutors, a New York court official told Politico that judges are randomly assigned to oversee grand juries. A judge who oversees a grand jury that produces an indictment then serves as judge for the trial in that case.
Michael Isikoff, chief investigative correspondent for Yahoo News, reported some details on the charges Monday night, while the indictment was still under seal.
Trump called for Bragg’s indictment in a post on Truth Social Monday night, accusing him of illegally leaking the details of the indictment to the reporter.
“D.A. BRAGG JUST ILLEGALLY LEAKED THE 33 points of Indictment. There are no changes or surprises from those he leaked days ago directly out of the Grand Jury. No Crime by Trump. What a MESS. Bragg should resign, NOW!” Trump wrote on the social media platform.
Later Monday evening, also on Truth Social, Trump accused special prosecutor Jack Smith of leaking information to the Washington Post. In the post, Trump called Smith a “radical left lunatic” and a “totally biased thug.”
Smith is investigating Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents in a separate case. Monday night, ABC News reported that Smith has subpoenaed multiple U.S. Secret Service agents connected with Trump’s security detail.
Trump will be delivering a speech at Mar-a-Lago Monday night, according to an announcement from his campaign.
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