1968 Wharton graduate and former President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony charges following his arrest and arraignment on April 4.
On March 30, Trump was indicted by a grand jury led by Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg. Trump's indictment is in connection with a $130,000 hush money payment made during his 2016 presidential campaign. On Tuesday, Trump surrendered to authorities at a lower Manhattan courthouse, and the indictment was revealed to include 34 felony charges regarding the falsification of business records.
Trump is the first sitting or former president to face criminal charges.
Acting New York Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan will be presiding over the case. Merchan previously presided over the Trump Organization tax fraud trial and oversaw a felony fraud case for Trump's former adviser, Steve Bannon.
Trump appeared with Todd Blanche, his newly-hired lead counsel. Blanche, a former partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, has previously represented Igor Fruman, an associate of Rudy Giuliani, who pleaded guilty in a campaign finance case based out of Manhattan.
Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) showed up to New York City in solidarity with Trump. She organized the “Rally for Trump” at Collect Pond Park, in protest of “Alvin Bragg’s heinous attack on President Donald J. Trump,” according to the event website.
New York City implemented heightened safety precautions, including the closing of several major streets near the courthouse where Trump appeared. Although all planned actions were promoted as peaceful in nature, the outcomes of Trump’s January. 6 insurrection motivated the NYPD to be proactive, according to NBC New York.
Trump addressed the general public from his Mar-A-Lago estate Tuesday evening following his court appearance, according to The Hill.
Trump's indictment for the falsification of business records comes after a history of claims made by Trump that have been disputed. On numerous occasions, Trump has told reporters and supporters that he “graduated first in his class” from the Wharton School, but The Daily Pennsylvanian reported in 2017 that Penn records and Trump’s classmates dispute this claim.
In 1968, the DP published a list of the 56 students included on the Wharton dean’s list, and notably, Trump’s name is absent. 1968 Wharton graduate Jon Hillsberg previously told the DP that there is no evidence that Trump graduated with any Latin honors or awards, citing the 1968 Commencement Program obtained from the Penn Archives.