He maintains that he is innocent and not guilty.
Hours after turning himself in to New York state authorities, former US President Donald Trump addressed the public in which he assured: “I never thought something like this would happen.”
Trump delivered the speech from his official residence in Palm Beach, Florida. He entered the room with the Secret Service and walked down a corridor surrounded by followers who greeted him as he made his way to the stage.
“The only crime I have committed is to bravely defend our nation from those who seek to destroy it,” the former president said, pleading guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records.
The prosecutor said the investigation against the former president involved the payment of bribes to three people. One of them, porn actress Stormi Daniels, was paid $130,000 to remain silent about an alleged affair with Trump a decade ago.
Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney in charge of the investigation, said Trump made multiple false statements in New York business records, which he called “criminal.”
In 2017, when the former president falsely claimed to be paying his former attorney and mediator Michael Cohen for legal services, he was in fact reimbursing money he had paid to silence negative information prior to the presidential election. “Improve the chances” that Trump will win the race.
“Everyone who has seen this case, including staunch Democrats, says there was no crime and it should not have been brought. “Even people who aren’t exactly supporters have said it’s not the right thing to do,” Trump said.
This is a disgrace to our country, he added.
The indictment, made public during a hearing before Judge Juan Manuel Merchón, listed 34 counts of falsifying business records and the dates they occurred. During his speech, the former president accused Merson of being a “judge who hates Trump.”
“This allegation that has surfaced is ridiculous. Everyone said it wasn’t really an accusation. There’s nothing here,” Trump added, before calling Bragg a “criminal” who, according to him, illegally leaked a “massive amount” of information from the grand jury that initially heard the case.
The speech continued with typical campaign attacks, in which he returned to his usual attacks on the administration of the Biden administration and his baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
During the hearing, Judge Merchan did not issue a gag order on the case, so neither party was barred from discussing the process.
However, Merson cautioned Trump and his legal team and prosecutors against making statements that incite violence.
Attorney Bragg said in statements to the press that Trump’s illegal scheme involved violating New York election law and providing false information to tax officials.
“We cannot and will not normalize serious criminal behavior,” Bragg said.
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