Trump Arraignment Wrap-Up: Updates and Hot Takes as President Heads Home

And talk about a bizarre twist? Check out what also happened today involving Stormy Daniels, Donald Trump and payments.

By Al Perrotta Published on April 4, 2023

The Stream’s posting updates and hot takes on the historic arraignment today of former President Trump in Manhattan. Hope you’ll follow along here and on social media.

We thought we were done. But just like an extra scene at the end of a Marvel flick …

4:00 P.M.

Only This Could Happen to Donald Trump. Stormy Daniels Ordered to Pay Additional $100K to Trump for Legal Fees

Trump started his journey to the court today by saying it was “surreal.” We’ve now gone beyond surreal to surreal on hallucinogenics. At the very same time Trump was pleading not guilty to criminal charges of falsifying records about $130,000 payments to Stormy Daniels, this very same Stormy Daniels was ordered by another court to pay an additional $122,000 to Trump in attorney’s fees.

This in addition to the $300,00 she was ordered by the 9th Circuit to pay Trump last year. Daniels vowed “I would go to jail rather than pay a penny!” she said at the time. In the past few days, though, she was boasting about how the indictment has boosted business for her Team Stormy merchandise.

Which gets to the one of the oddest elements of this case, speaking as someone who used to cover tabloids for a living.

So Trump Committed Fraud by Trying to Keep News He Was a Cad From Getting Out?

Key to this whole legal scheme of Bragg’s is the idea that Trump paid porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playmate Karen McDougal in order to keep rumored affairs out of the news during the 2016 campaign. That Trump aimed to defraud the American voter by hiding the payments and dalliances.

We know former Democratic VP candidate John Edwards was acquitted of using campaign funds to pay off his mistress and keep her and their baby secret. So right there, the precedent is clear.

But there’s also a big difference between Edwards and Trump. Part of Edwards’ political persona was as the loving husband to his cancer-stricken wife. He was a smiling, nice, southern charmer. News that he had knocked up a staffer would shatter that image. Wreck his career.

Is there anyone in America who didn’t know Donald Trump had a history of being a cad?

For 40 years, the guy lived in the tabloids. I mean, Trump’s first wife Ivana and his then-mistress Marla were caught throwing down on a ski slope for gosh sakes!

Especially in light of voters brushing off the Access Hollywood tape, how would news of Daniels and McDougal substantially hurt Trump’s campaign?

3:32 P.M.

Trump Heads Home, Will Be Back in Court December 4, Speaks to the Nation Tonight

Donald Trump left the court without addressing reporters, and is heading to the airport for a flight back to Florida.

He will be holding a press conference tonight from Mar-a-Lago. 

And so, for the first time in U.S. history we have had a former president … and the leading contender against the current president … arraigned, arrested, booked and released on a criminal charge. Charged by a prosecutor who was elected vowing to make it his mission to prosecute a single individual. The crime he’d work out later. 

Right now, Trump is scheduled to be back in court on December 4th, eight months from now. Assuming this thing isn’t thrown out by then. Meaning, Trump could still have this hanging over his head throughout the start of the debate season and just about two months from the New Hampshire primary.  

You can read the full indictment here

2:47 P.M.

Indictment Unsealed: Donald Trump Officially Enters “Not Guilty” Plea …. to 34 Counts of Falsifying Records

Former President Donald Trump has officially entered a “not guilty” plea to the myriad of charges filed against him by the Soros D.A. Alvin Bragg. The indictment has just been released. As was leaked to the Yahoo! News, he’s charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. Too early to tell how many of the counts are what the experts call “count stacking,” that is take a single unitary transaction and turning it into multiple transactions to make the accused’s crime seem more serious. 

Too early to know for sure, but it looks like earlier reporting is holding up. Bragg is trying to say Trump committed fraud by trying to conceal from American voters payments to Stormy Daniels and former Playmate Karen McDougal. He’s elevating to a first degree state felony charges by claiming the payments were a federal crime … which the feds have already determined was not a crime. 

One photo was taken of Donald Trump sitting in the courtroom with his lawyers.


2:30 P.M.

President Trump Walks Into the Courtroom Without Comment

A somber and serious Donald Trump has just entered the courtroom without comment. Earlier reports suggested he would say something to reporters on his way in. He may still speak when he comes out in about half an hour … assuming no gag order.

He has just finished being processed … and processing the idea that he is under arrest.

Random Thought: Would Trump be under arrest had he remained a Democrat? Sure. And Joe Biden’s going to with next year’s NBA Slam-Dunk Contest.

2:12 P.M

Random Thought: At this moment, a former president of the United States is being treated like a common criminal. No wait. A common criminal in Bragg’s New York is treated like a king.

2:01 P.M.

The Sleight of Hand: As Nation Focuses on Trump Indictment, Biden Shoves Another $2.6 Billion in Weapons to Ukraine

Trump had the right word. “Surreal.” At the very same time, Donald Trump is being processed inside a New York Court, the White House press secretary was talking about another $2.6 billion in weapons to Ukraine. The Pentagon announced the new multi-billion bounty earlier in the day as all cameras focused on Manhattan. 

1:56 P.M.

Marco Rubio Roars: “This is the New Normal”

Sen. Marco Rubio who famously squared off against Donald Trump in 2016 and faced the full force of Trump’s hardball ways, tore into today’s arraignment in a video.

“Today is a bad day for all of us, and we are all going to regret it for a very long time,” he said.

Added Rubio, “This is the new normal.” It’s now open season on politicians from prosecutors around the country who want to make a name for themselves by going after politicians of the other party.  

Mark Levin, former Attorney General Chief of Staff and popular radio host, was even more dire. “Mark it on your calendar. Today is the day of the real insurrection.”

1:25 P.M.

Trump has arrived at the courthouse and is heading on his way up to the 15th floor.  He offered his traditional fist pump as he entered.

As he headed toward the courthouse Trump took to Truth Social to say how “surreal” this experience is.


President Donald Trump has left his Trump Tower residence to head down to the court house.

This is an historic moment.  Overhead video is showing the Trump motorcade rolling quickly through Manhattan. That has never happened in our history.


Trump Will Speak Inside Courthouse Before and After Arraignment … and Tonight

We could be looking for a trifecta of Trump today. The former President … and, we should mention, reality TV star … will speak to reporters and the nation before and after his arraignment. Attorney Chris Wise told CNN the appearances will take place in the hallway of the courtroom.

Then Trump will address the nation from Mar-a-Lago at 8:15 Eastern Time.

What will be interesting to see is whether the networks and cable channels cover his remarks in their entirety. Trump has basically been iced out by much of the media (and social media) since January 6. So for millions of Americans, this will be the first time in over two years they’ll be hearing from Trump unfiltered.

Don’t expect dour Donald. Wise says the former president is “resilient, upbeat, and determined as ever to fight off the drivers of injustice.”

Calm, upbeat is a good play. With a reminder the “fight” is for other Americans … and future presidents.

11:51 A.M

A Random Thought As We Contemplate Presidential Legal Troubles

Does Stormy Daniels wonder if she should have gone into politics and sold herself to China rather than porn directors? The money is soooo much better.

11:50 A.M

Trump Lets Loose on Social Media

Former President Trump let loose this morning on Truth Social, calling for a change of venue, ripping the judge, including the fact the judge’s daughter worked for Kamala Harris. He went ALL CAPS. So you know he’s serious.


It is amusing to note that at a time he is supposed to be getting ready to go to the courthouse, Trump took to Truth Social to offer a media critique.


One of the big questions of the day will be whether the judge will slap a gag order on the case. Which really means a gag order on Trump. Which means silencing the leading contender for the 2024 presidency from defending himself. Which, given the political nature of the charges, is tantamount to election interference.

Meanwhile, the Trump Campaign says they’ve raised $8 million in the four days since news broke of Trump’s indictment.

11:10 A.M.

Funny. Manhattan D.A.’s Office Purges Executive Staff Section From Its Website After Bias Exposed

Let’s talk political bias again. Gateway Pundit is reporting that the Manhattan D.A.’s office has purged the section on executive staff from its website. Why the sudden shyness? Gateway Pundit shows why, revealing the widespread animosity of several of those top aides against Trump. For example, Bragg’s Chief Assistant D.A. Meg Reiss was nailed last week for her storm of anti-Trump tweets. She quickly deleted her account.

Bragg’s Chief of Staff Jordan Stockdale “liked several tweets that called for Trump to be impeached and to never take office again.” Stockdale, too, took down his Twitter account when exposed.

10:55 A.M.

Trump Lawyer Predicts Charges Will Go Away

Trump’s attorney Joe Tacopina made a prediction and a promise this morning on Good Morning, America. Tacopina told George Stephanapoulos you’re definitely not going to see a guilty plea. And fat chance Trump pleads down to a misdemeanor. But you will soon see plenty of legal motions, and, Tacopina predicts, it won’t be long before the charges are tossed.

One of the grounds for dismissal, Tacopina says, is “selective prosecution.” There’s no way Alvin Bragg can prosecute Trump for a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels in 2016 that was dubbed a legal expense while not prosecuting Hillary Clinton for the millions she paid for the Steele Dossier and Trump-Russia Collusion scam that she, too, dubbed a legal expense. Hillary just got done paying a fine to the FEC for that bit of business. No 34 felony counts for her.

Tacopina also notes the payment falls under federal jurisdiction as a campaign finance matter. And as Hot Air and others point out, the statute of limitations on any bank fraud allegations have run out.

Another likely challenge? Political bias. Bragg made it a campaign promise that he would prosecute Trump.

Said Tacopina, “I don’t think this case is going to see a jury. I think it’s going to go away on papers. I think there’s a legal challenge that will be made and should be made successfully.”

10:17 A.M.

Judge Rules: No Live Cameras in the Courtroom.

He’s ready for his close-up, Mr. Soros. Judge Juan Merchan ruled late last night he will not allow live cameras in the courtroom when Trump is arraigned. However five pool photographers will be allowed several minutes to shoot what they will before the hearing begins. Courtroom artists will capture the actual proceedings.

Meanwhile, a small group of protesters – both for and against Trump – are at Trump Tower awaiting for his departure to court. Both the area around Trump Tower and the Courthouse have been blockaded.

9:55 A.M

Fulfilling the Media and Celebrity Fantasy

Well, today’s the day that the Rob Reiners and Rachel Maddows and Joy Behars have been fantasizing about. Donald Trump getting arrested. Sure, Madonna didn’t get to fulfill her dream of blowing up the White House with Trump in it. The only thing she blew up is her face. But no doubt today is a happy one in Madonna’s lair.

And MSNBC and CNN? It’s Christmas, Kuwanza and Pride Month rolled into one. Without Trump, their ratings have not only gone down the toilet, but sit at the bottom of the septic tank. But now, with Trump facing arrest and trial? Hosanna, a ratings bonanza!

And as a side benefit, the media can ignore the collapse of America’s standing and the feeble administration that’s been bringing it about. Trump is back to being the center of their galaxy. Joe Biden? A dwarf planet far out of their solar system.

9:15 A.M.

34 Counts: D.A.’s Office Leaks Indictment Details to a Familiar Face

Donald Trump’s indictment is supposed to be under seal for a few more hours. However, details were leaked last night to Yahoo! News. According to the site, Trump will face 34 counts for falsification of business records. None of which are misdemeanors. Soak in that for a second. This is from the same D.A. who every day reduces felony violent crime charges to misdemeanors.

Yahoo! News goes onto say that D.A. Alvin Bragg “concluded there was no reason to subject the former president to handcuffs or a mug shot.” Hmmm … no mug shot? No chance for a smiling Trump to flip the mug shot against his foes? Or is Bragg trying to act impartial by denying Democrats the mug shot they’ve been fantasizing about since 2017?

One more thing to note about the Yahoo! News story. It was written by Michael Isikoff. Does that name sound familiar? It should. Michael Isikoff was one of the primary journalists enlisted by Hillary Clinton campaign to embrace the Steele Dossier and the Trump Russia collusion hoax on their behalf. Thus a co-conspirator in her bid to frame Trump.

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Why are we here today? Because there have been no consequences for those who deliberately deceived the nation in 2016, attempting to interfere in our free and fair election. (Meanwhile a pro-Trumper who made memes in 2016 faces 10 years in the slammer.) Make no mistake.

Today is as much about the Michael Isikoffs as it is about Stormy Daniels.

The media and Big Tech working hand-in-hand to upend our elections. Last night, YouTube slapped a 7-day suspension on RSBN. Yes, right on the eve of RSBN covering the Trump arraignment in a way counter to the Isikoffs and the CNNs and MSNBCs. The accusation? RSBN violated YouTube’s “election misinformation” policies. This is Soviet-level stuff.

Google (owners of YouTube). The same Google that skewed their algorithms to help Hillary and help Biden — and still skew search results to favor Democrats — accuses RSBN of “election misinformation”? Classic.

The only saving grace is there are more avenues to speak then there were in the days of Stalin and Brezhnev. RSBN can still be found on Rumble.

Again, we are here because of the lack of consequences or accountability for 2016. The institutional corruption within our justice system that allowed top FBI officials like Andrew McCabe and Peter Strzok to walk free for a bogus investigation of Trump back then, opened the door for the Alvin Braggs of today.


Al Perrotta is the Managing Editor of The Stream, chief barista for The Brew and co-author, with John Zmirak, of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration. You can follow him at @StreamingAl at GETTR, Gab, Parler, and now at TRUTH Social.

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