Former President Donald Trump was charged with 34 felony counts of business fraud by the Manhattan District Attorney on Tuesday.
Details: Last week, a Manhattan grand jury voted to indict Trump on charges related to hush money payments made shortly before the 2016 election. On Tuesday, Trump surrendered to authorities in Manhattan and pleaded not guilty to all 34 charges.
Following the arraignment, Trump returned to his home in Florida, where he gave a speech addressing the charges. Trump declared his innocence and stated, "The only crime that I’ve committed is to fearlessly defend our nation from those who seek to destroy it."
The Charges: The indictment contains 34 charges accusing Trump of "falsifying business records in the first degree," aiming to "defraud and intent to commit another crime and aid and conceal the commission thereof." The accusation that Trump falsified business records to cover up another crime is the justification for elevating the crime to the felony level.
2024 Impact: Across the spectrum, there is consensus that the indictment will boost Trump's chances of securing the Republican nomination for the 2024 race. However, there is disagreement on how it could impact the general election. Some left-rated sources believe the legal battle will push independent voters away from Trump, while some right-rated sources argue independent voters, believing the indictment to be politically motivated, could be drawn towards Trump.
How The Media Covered It: Outlets across the spectrum highlighted the ambiguity and uncertainty in the case, as well as the immense historical significance. Doubt over the validity of the charges was more common from right-rated sources, but was seen across the spectrum. Some left-rated sources highlighted other investigations Trump is facing, such as his handling of classified documents and his actions following the 2020 election, as more important.
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Snippets from the Left
"Bragg, in other words, has built one of the most controversial and high-profile criminal cases in American history upon the most uncertain of foundations. And that foundation could crumble into dust if the courts reject his legal arguments on a genuinely ambiguous question of law.."
"Significantly, if others have minimized these hush money charges, Trump has not. He has treated them with a level of alarm and dangerous rhetoric we have not seen from him since the runup to Jan. 6."
Snippets from the Center
"Imagine what would have happened 20 years ago if it came out that George W. Bush allegedly had sex with a porn star while his daughters were babies. Forget the part about paying hush money. You wouldn’t need the legal system to stymie his political future, just that one revelation would have defined his entire life, making him a laughing stock in history."
"In a speech from Mar-a-Lago hours after pleading not guilty to criminal charges in Manhattan, and in social media posts, former President Donald Trump has said the case against him is unfair. Here, we explain his attacks on the prosecutor, judge and venue."
Snippets from the Right
"Perhaps the most encouraging thing about this sorry episode so far is that Bragg has demonstrated that it’s possible to behave so egregiously in the pursuit of Donald Trump that even left-of-center pundits won’t line up in support."
Bragg’s fairy-tale indictment pretends politicians never suppress embarrassing info
New York Post (opinion)
"Bragg’s indictment pretends Donald Trump was an aberration in American politics and smiting him will restore faith in the system. But Hunter Biden’s laptop could have disclosed far more damning information than any bimbo boinked by Trump."