Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s private plane, known as Trump Force One, is parked on the tarmac at Palm Beach International Airport on March 31, 2023 in West Palm Beach, Florida. –
Giorgio Viera | AFP | Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump is flying into New York’s LaGuardia Airport on Monday to face criminal charges related to a 2016 silent payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.
Trump is to be arraigned on Tuesday in Manhattan Supreme Courtwhere a grand jury indicted him on Thursday.
“Tuesday morning I will, believe it or not, be going to the courthouse,” he wrote in a Truth Social article from his residence in Palm Beach, Fla., late Sunday night.
“America wasn’t supposed to be like this!” Trump added.
Trump left Mar-a-Lago around 12:20 p.m. ET in a motorcade of SUVs. His plane took off from Palm Beach International Airport at 12:59 p.m. ET.
Former US President Donald Trump stands by his plane at Palm Beach International Airport after he was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury following an investigation into the hidden money paid to the porn star Stormy Daniels, in West Palm Beach, Florida on April 3, 2023.
Mark Bello | Reuters
Trump said he would deliver a speech Tuesday night on his criminal case after returning to his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.
A small group of Trump supporters gathered outside the club on Monday morning, awaiting his departure.
In Manhattan, the New York Police Department and other law enforcement continued preparations for Trump’s arrival and potential protests.
By Sunday afternoon, news crews had already set up posts outside Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and outside the courthouse, located less than four miles south of the Trump residence.
Sources told NBC News that Trump faces about 30 counts of document fraud in the indictment. It came after the grand jury heard from multiple witnesses since January testifying to a $130,000 payment that Michael Cohen, then Trump’s attorney and fixer, made to Daniels shortly before the 2016 presidential election.
The indictment has not been unsealed, so it is unclear whether these counts constitute the entirety of the case.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, whose office is prosecuting Trump, has made no public statement on the charges other than confirming that the indictment has been filed.
A court document dated March 30, 2023 shows the order allowing Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg to publicly disclose that former US President Donald Trump has been indicted, following a stash money investigation paid to porn star Stormy Daniels.
Manhattan District Court
Cohen’s payment to Daniels was designed to prevent her from speaking to the media about her claim that she once had sex with Trump in 2006, months after his wife Melania gave birth to their son Barron.
Trump denies having sex with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford. He also denies any foul play.
But he repaid Cohen with multiple payments, which in total far exceeded $130,000. The extra amount Trump gave Cohen was at least partly to cover the income taxes the attorney would have owed for getting the money from him.
The reimbursement was recorded as a legal fee in the Trump Organization’s business records.
Under New York law, misclassifying the nature of business expenses in official records is a misdemeanor. But it can be considered a crime if the false statement was made to cover up or conceal another crime.
Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal criminal charges, which included a campaign finance violation related to the payment to Daniels. He admitted that Trump ordered the payment to prevent Daniels from going public with his claim, which could have potentially hurt his chances of winning the election.
Trump’s campaign for the 2024 presidential election has used the renewed attention to raise money from the former president’s supporters. He has raised more than $5 million since Trump’s indictment, NBC News reported, confirming an earlier report by Axios.
Former US President Donald Trump gestures from his motorcade as he leaves his Trump International Golf Club following his indictment by a Manhattan grand jury following an investigation into hidden money paid to the porn star Stormy Daniels, in West Palm Beach, Florida, United States, on April 1, 2023.
Ricardo Arduengo | Reuters
As Trump tries to secure the GOP presidential nomination for the third time, his legal risks go beyond the case of silence. He faces three other criminal investigations.
One, by a state attorney in Atlanta, focuses on efforts by him and his allies to get Georgia officials to reverse its 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden in that state.
The Justice Department is investigating Trump for his attempt to overturn Biden’s national election victory, including pressuring his Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to confirm Electoral College results in a session Congressional Joint on January 6, 2021. This investigation also examines whether Trump committed any crimes related to the riot by a mob of his supporters who invaded the Capitol that day.
The DOJ is separately investigating Trump for potential crimes by keeping hundreds of government documents at Mar-a-Lago, some highly classified, after he left the White House. He is also seeking to find out whether he obstructed justice by refusing to return the documents when requested by the authorities.
The Washington Post reported Sunday that “federal investigators have gathered significant new evidence” that after Trump advisers received a subpoena last May demanding the return of documents bearing classified marks, “Trump reviewed the contents of certain boxes of documents at his house, apparently out of a desire to keep certain things in his possession.”
Trump has denied committing any crimes related to any of the investigations, which he says are motivated by a desire to harm him politically.