Donald Trump

Trump Is Arraigned in an Extraordinary Court Appearance in Manhattan. What's Next?

The former president is at the beginning of a criminal proceeding in New York

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Former President Donald Trump’s appearance in the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse on Tuesday is the start of this particular legal battle in New York, with the exact charges against him unsealed.

But he may be facing other more serious charges elsewhere. In Georgia, a grand jury investigated attempts by Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, and in Washington, D.C., the special counsel, Jack Smith, and the Justice Department are looking into his handling of classified documents and at efforts to reverse his election loss.

Trump has insisted he is not guilty of criminal charges in the New York case, which he calls a “witch hunt” and which is being overseen by Justice Juan Merchan. After the proceeding, the former president is returning to Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.

What happened on this historic day and what comes next, both in New York and elsewhere? Here’s a rundown.

What Is an Indictment? 

The indictment is the formal charge brought against someone after a grand jury agrees that there is sufficient evidence of a crime. The indictment against Trump includes 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

What Is an Arraignment?

The arraignment is the court appearance where Trump was formally charged. He has insisted he is not guilty of charges arising from payments to two women who say they had affairs with him. He calls them liars. The payments include the $130,000 paid to porn actress Stormy Daniels by Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen and $150,000 paid to Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, by the publisher of the supermarket tabloid the National Enquirer. 

Trump was silent as he entered and exited the Manhattan courtroom, and said “not guilty” in a firm voice, The Associated Press reported. The judge warned him to refrain from rhetoric that could inflame or cause civil unrest.

Trump left the courthouse about an hour afterward without having to post bail.

When Does the Defense Sees the Evidence?

The prosecution must turn over all of the evidence it has gathered to Trump’s defense team. According to, that includes minutes from the grand jury meetings, law enforcement notes, records such as tape recordings, and testimony from grand jury witnesses. Among those witnesses were Cohen, David Pecker, the former chief executive of the parent company of The National Enquirer and a longtime friend of Trump, and Robert Costello, a former Cohen legal adviser who contradicted Cohen’s incriminating statements about Trump.

Here Are the Allegations Against Trump

What Will Trump's Defense Be?

The former president’s lawyers have said they will move fast to ask that the case be dismissed. They typically have 45 days to file those motions but as notes, the judge can give them more time.

Trump suggested on Truth Social that his case should be moved from Manhattan to the more conservative Staten Island, but one of his lawyers, Joe Tacopina, called that proposal premature. 

Robert Gottlieb, a former assistant district attorney in Manhattan who is now in private practice, told, “No judge is going to seriously entertain it. There’s no basis to conclude he can’t receive the same fair trial in New York as he would in Mississippi.”

The judge is tasked with presiding over the arraignment of former President Donald Trump.

When Is Trump Due Back in Court?

Trump is due in court again Dec. 4. His lawyers asked that he be excused from attending the hearing in person because of extraordinary security proceedings, The AP reported.

When Would a Trial Take Place?

New York requires that prosecutors be prepared to try a felony case within six months, but former prosecutors told that they will likely take much longer. 

What Could Be the Political Fallout?

Trump is running for president in 2024, and neither the indictment nor even a conviction would legally prevent him from continuing. He has used the indictment as a fund raising tool, taking in more than $4 million in the 24 hours after it became public, according to The AP. Many of his supporters and rivals in the presidential race have come to his defense, charging the prosecution is politically motivated. 

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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