Donald Trump has become the first former American president ever to be criminally charged. What comes next for Mr Trump and his defence team?
The 76-year-old pleaded not guilty in New York on Tuesday to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.
The charges relate to Mr Trump’s involvement in hush money payments to former porn star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
There’s no doubt that if the case gets to trial, it will be watched worldwide. But the legal process that lies ahead could last several months – and will certainly see Mr Trump’s lawyers fighting to get the case dropped.
The office of the Manhattan District Attorney has been investigating the Trump hush money payments for five years.
With Mr Trump’s arraignment complete, prosecutors are now required to turn over evidence they have gathered during their probe to his legal team – a standard process known as “discovery”.
Under recent legal reforms in New York, discovery must be completed within the next 35 days.
Evidence will include law enforcement interviews with, and witness testimony from, key figures like Ms Daniels and Mr Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen.
It will also comprise minutes from the grand jury convened earlier this year by District Attorney Alvin Bragg to take a closer look at the allegations, as well as records of communication between Mr Trump and others involved in the scheme.
Lawyers for Mr Trump have vowed to challenge the charges against him within days, arguing that the New York case is “ripe for motions”.
Motions are requests for the court to make a decision on a matter relating to a case before a trial begins. If a party makes “a motion to dismiss”, it is asking the court to dismiss all or part of a case.
Defence lawyers typically have 45 days after arraignment to make their motions, although Judge Juan Merchan could grant them a little more time.
Attorney Joe Tacopina told CNN on Sunday that the Trump legal team would “evaluate all our legal options and pursue every one most vigorously”.
“The team will look at every, every potential issue that we will be able to challenge, and we will challenge,” he said. “And, of course, I very much anticipate a motion to dismiss coming because there’s no law that fits this.”
In addition to a motion to dismiss, the Trump team has floated the possibility of a motion to transfer venue – moving the trial from Manhattan to nearby Staten Island.
Mr Trump wrote on social media that Manhattan “with some areas that voted 1% Republican” is a “very unfair” place for him to face a trial. But motions to transfer venue are rarely granted.
After his various legal challenges play out, the People of New York v. Donald Trump may become the trial of the century.
Defendants in New York have a so-called “right to a speedy trial” – which means that prosecutors must be ready to try the case within six months.
But it is impossible to know how long it will take to address all the motions filed by Mr Trump’s lawyers, and if we will even see a trial when they have been resolved.
In the meantime, Mr Trump could face criminal charges in at least two other cases, including a special counsel probe into his efforts to overturn the 2020 election and his handling of classified information after leaving office.
But no laws exist to prevent an indicted American from running for president, and the Republican will likely continue building his third consecutive campaign for the White House.