NEW YORK - Former President Donald Trump is facing has pled not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, part of a so-called "catch and kill scheme" to use a media company that owns the National Enquirer in order to find and squash potentially harmful stories for Trump as he was running for president in 2016.
The alleged scheme then called for paying for those stories and then, burying them.
According to the indictment, Trump allegedly killed three stories. One involves adult film actress Stormy Daniels, the second involves a playboy model, Karen McDougal, and a third involves a doorman from Trump Tower, with a story of a child Trump allegedly had out of wedlock.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg says the alleged payoffs are illegal campaign contributions, and that business documents were doctored to cover that up.
It is common for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office to prosecute the charge of falsifying business documents. Most instances are commonly done in attempts to embezzle money.
What is uncommon here is the allegation it was done to suppress negative information about Trump as he was engaged in a tight run for the presidency.
Legal experts say the Trump indictment is stripped down to the basic charge of falsifying business records, and they say that simplicity may pay off big in a jury trial.