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Trump pleads not guilty to charges in 34-count indictment

Watch all of NewsNation’s live coverage of former President Trump’s historic arraignment here

(NewsNation) — Former President Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty to falsifying business records in the first degree — felony accusations that are laid out in a 34-count grand jury indictment.

The accusations tied to each count were not not immediately available but are expected to be made public soon.

Trump, the first former president to face criminal charges, will return to his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida, where he will deliver a public, primetime speech.

The charges are believed to be connected to an alleged hush money scheme investigation involving adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who said she had an affair with Trump. The former president has repeatedly denied those claims.

Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to violating federal campaign finance law by giving Daniels $130,000 through a shell company that he set up.

The former president acknowledged he paid Cohen a “monthly retainer” as part of an agreement to stop what he called Daniels’ “false and extortionist accusations.” Trump has, however, denied that had anything to do with campaign funding.

Cohen, also in 2016, arranged a $150,000 payment via the publisher of the National Enquirer to former Playboy model Karen McDougal to quash a story about a separate alleged affair with teh former president. Trump has denied having an affair.

He prematurely signaled to his arrest about two weeks ago when he posted on social media, urging his supporters to protest in advance of what he claimed would be his March 21 arrest.

That arrest didn’t happen.

Instead, the grand jury indictment came down more than a week later on March 30 and the former president surrendered himself to officials Tuesday.

The New York City Court System could be slow-moving as it handles already backed-up cases. Legal analyst Misty Marris told NewsNation it’s likely Trump’s case won’t be heard until well beyond 2024.

Former New York City mayor and once Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani has said the alleged six-figure hush money payments to Daniels as well as former Playboy model Karen McDougal were not exclusively political, but made with the intention to protect Trump’s family from embarrassment.

“If he (Trump) is not telling the truth about that, that’s not a crime,” Giuliani told NewsNation Monday evening. “It’s not under oath. It’s not perjury.”

This is a developing report. Refresh for updates.

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