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What happens now that Donald Trump has been arraigned?

There is a long, complicated legal process to come now that Donald Trump has been indicted.
Donald Trump appears in court
Posted at 6:24 PM, Apr 04, 2023

One of the biggest takeaways from Tuesday's arraignment is that for the first time we actually know what Mr. Trump is being charged with. Before the Tuesday hearing, his indictment wasn't public. 

The former president was somber as he entered the courtroom and learned that he is officially facing 34 felony counts. 

Some of those counts are related to an alleged relationship with adult film actress Stormy Daniels and an attempt to keep it from coming out in the press in the final days of the 2016 election. 

It's not the alleged relationship that is at the heart of this case — it's whether Mr. Trump engaged in business fraud and falsified business records in his efforts to keep that relationship quiet.

Falsifying business records can be prosecuted in New York as a misdemeanor, but Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg has decided to charge the former president with felonies, an option prosecutors in New York have if they believe business records were falsified in order to conceal other crimes. 

Former President Donald Trump inside the courtroom.

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Former President Trump has repeatedly denied wrongdoing on social media.  On Tuesday, he called the entire experience "surreal."

So far, Mr. Trump has not been convicted of any crime, and it's possible that during the course of the upcoming trial he will be found not guilty. A trial date is not known at this point.

But before we get to the verdict or even a trial, a series of pretrial hearings is expected to take place. For instance, Mr. Trump's legal team over the coming weeks will likely try to convince a judge that the testimony of Michael Cohen should not be heard. Mr. Cohen, who was previously former President Trump's attorney, is now the prosecution's star witness. Mr. Trump's legal team has been saying for months that Cohen can not be trusted after Cohen himself pleaded guilty to crimes like tax evasion and campaign finance violations.

When the trial occurs, we will likely see a similar security operation to what took place Tuesday in New York, in which tens of thousands of NYPD police officers were either deployed to the streets of New York or put on standby.  For the most part, supporters of Mr. Trump and his critics were kept apart outside the courthouse.

Former President Donald Trump approaches the entrance to a Manhattan courtroom

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