(New York) In a landmark appearance before a Manhattan judge, Donald Trump pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to 34 counts of falsifying corporate documents as part of a ‘scheme’ to cover up a sex scandal potential during the 2016 presidential campaign.

He became the first former president to make such a plea after being charged with a crime.

The scheme described by the Manhattan district attorney in a “statement of facts” accompanying the charges not only mentions the payment of $130,000 to porn actress Stormy Daniels to buy her silence just weeks before 2016 ballot over his alleged sexual relationship with the future president.

It details two other payments, one in the amount of $30,000 to a doorman at Trump Tower and another in the amount of $150,000 to 1998 playmate Karen McDougall, who claimed to have had a love affair with Donald Trump.

Both of these payments were made by the National Enquirer in an operation dubbed “catch and kill.” According to the Manhattan district attorney, the former owner of the company that publishes the super market tabloid had promised in August 2015 to Trump, a longtime friend, to help him by intercepting potentially negative stories on his account by buying and burying them.

The doorman claimed that Trump had had a child with one of his employees, which was not true. He still received payment.

The Manhattan district attorney further alleges that Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, identified as “Lawyer 1”, bought Stormy Daniel’s silence through a front company he set up. standing for that reason alone. Donald Trump repaid the payment to Cohen by signing 11 checks in 2017 and passing them off as attorney fees.

Each check earns Donald Trump one count, as does each mention of this refund in the Trump Organization’s corporate documents.

At a press conference, the Manhattan prosecutor argued that the payment to Stormy Daniels violated two New York state laws and one federal law.

“This scheme violated New York Elections Law, which makes it a crime to conspire to promote a candidacy by unlawful means. The wire transfer of $130,000 exceeded the federal campaign contribution limit,” said Alvin Bragg.

Donald Trump is due to speak in the evening at Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Florida. He looked angry as he entered Judge Juan Marchan’s courtroom at 2:30 p.m., but remained silent throughout the proceedings except to plead not guilty.

He was due in court shortly before 1:30 p.m., after traveling by limo from Trump Tower to Manhattan Criminal Court, where the Manhattan District Attorney’s office is also located.

Arrested, the former president gave his fingerprints, but avoided the mugshot and handcuffs that are the lot of most defendants.

His campaign team nevertheless solicited donations by selling a t-shirt adorned with a fake photo of Donald Trump.

Donald Trump’s appearance drew a few hundred of his loudest supporters and critics to a small park across from the courthouse. In the morning, the Republican representative of New York George Santos, known for his fabrications, went there, as did his Republican colleague from Georgia, Marjorie Taylor Greene, who took the opportunity to criticize the Democrats.

“It’s a parody”, launched the far-right pasionara using a megaphone which did not prevent the former president’s detractors from burying his remarks under shouts and boos.

Unable to be heard, she left the park soon after under escort, but not before calling the Democrats a “party of violence.”

To avoid any overflow, the police had installed barriers to separate supporters and critics of Donald Trump. That didn’t stop Ozzie Hernandez, a 58-year-old New Yorker, from waving an anti-Trump poster among the pro-Trump crowd.

“I am exercising my First Amendment rights,” he said, under the protection of two police officers.

“Some Donald Trump supporters think he can walk on water. He can’t. He will be condemned. Unfortunately, there is no mandatory prison sentence attached to his crime. He will probably get a slap on the wrist. Fortunately, this is only the beginning of his troubles with the law. »

Not far from him, Michele Rem, an artist from Saugerties, New York, seemed to believe on the contrary that Donald Trump could work miracles after his indictment in New York.

“All of this will help him get back to the White House,” she said. Alvin Bragg just made the biggest mistake of his career. I know how this will end.

“And how will it end?”

“God will win, which means the people will win.” »