In his first public statement since pleading not guilty to an unprecedented 34-count indictment in a Manhattan court on Tuesday, former President Donald Trump declared that, as his legal team predicted, the New York County district attorney had “no case.”
“Just lifted off for Palm Beach, Florida,” Trump wrote on Truth Social at around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, adding that he’ll be delivering remarks from his Mar-a-Lago estate at 8:15 p.m., local time.
“The hearing was shocking to many in that they had no ‘surprises,’ and therefore, no case,” he added. “Virtually every legal pundit has said that there is no case here. There was nothing done illegally!”
The former president and lead contender for the 2024 GOP nomination had earlier pleaded not guilty to an indictment brought by the Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat elected in a deep blue county who has a history of prosecuting Trump cases.
Bragg charged Trump with 34 counts of falsifying business records in connection to a 2016 payment for a non-disclosure agreement, commonly referred to as “hush money,” with adult entertainment actress Stormy Daniels facilitated by Michael Cohen, who was then Trump’s attorney.
The statute at the center of all the charges is New York State Statute 175.10, which relates to falsifying business records in the first degree. According to the indictment, each of the 34 counts is related to the paper trail for payments that a Trump entity made to Cohen, including business ledger entries, invoices, and checks.
Trump’s attorneys have already indicated that they’ll file a motion to dismiss the case. Speaking to reporters outside the courthouse, they said the case is unprecedented not only because it concerns a former president but for other reasons as well.
“A state prosecutor is prosecuting a federal election law violation that doesn’t exist according to federal election law officials,” said Joe Tacopina, one of three Trump attorneys who attended the hearing.
Meanwhile, Bragg said in a statement following the arraignment hearing that Trump falsified business records with an intent to cover up state- and federal-level crimes related to campaign contributions.