Trump indicted on 34 criminal charges


Trump addresses supporters at Mar-a-Lago after arraignment in New York.

Patrick McGann, News Editor

Former President Donald Trump was indicted on over 30 counts related to business fraud by a Manhattan grand jury. Trump was arraigned at a Manhattan courthouse on April 4, where he pleaded not guilty to all 34 felony charges. Trump returned to his Mar-a-Lago home the same day, where he delivered remarks at a campaign-like event to his supporters as he continues his bid for the White House in 2024. 

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, an elected Democrat, and his office have been investigating Trump for months on his involvement with hush money payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels during his 2016 presidential campaign. Bragg won his election for the DA position in November 2021 with 83.2% of the total vote. He ran his campaign on the idea of going after the former president. Many Republicans, and some Democrats, have pushed the idea that Braggs used the criminal justice system as a political pawn to deter Trump during his third consecutive presidential run, where he currently leads all Republicans by a large margin. 

Following his arraignment in New York, Trump flew to his home in Florida, where he delivered a speech to invited guests. “I never thought this could happen,” Trump said. “The only crime I have committed is to fearlessly defend our nation from those who seek to destroy it.” During his address, Trump pushed his often-debunked theories that the Democrats spied on his campaign and that there was widespread voter fraud and irregularities during the 2020 election. He also highlighted that the DOJ and FBI unconstitutionally and illegally searched his home searching for classified documents, just weeks before finding similar documents in the Delaware home of President Joe Biden. 

Throughout his legal struggles, Trump has painted himself to be a martyr for his supporters and the American people. “They are not coming after me, they are coming after you. I just so happen to be in the way,” is a line Trump often references as he becomes the first American president to be criminally charged. Prominent Republicans, such as Mike Pence, Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Jim Jordan, and Marjorie Taylor Greene, have openly come out calling these charges “a hoax” and a “political witch hunt.” Meanwhile, the left has continued to push the notion that no one, not even former presidents, are above the law and Trump needs to be held accountable for his actions. 

Trump’s legal struggles have not had a severe impact on his polling numbers and continues to lead all GOP candidates by a wide margin. According to a CNBC poll conducted days after Trump’s arraignment,  58% of voters said that his criminal charges do not change how they view Trump, with 14% saying they are more inclined to vote for him in a primary. Trump has remained extremely popular with conservatives and unfavorable among independents and left-leaning voters. According to a recent conservative poll conducted by the Daily Consult, Trump leads the way for the right polling at 53%, followed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at 24%, and former Vice President Mike Pence at 7%. In New Hampshire, the polls tell a similar story with Trump polling at 53% in the Granite State, followed by DeSantis at 33%. 

The next steps for Trump will take some time to unfold. Defense and prosecuting attorneys will spend the next few months filing and exchanging paperwork, documents, and motions. Juan M. Merchan, the judge handling the case, has set a hearing date of December 4. Until then, Trump will continue to hit the campaign trail in search of his second term as President.