Former US president Donald Trump is facing 34 charges of falsifying business records


  • Donald Trump is required to attend his pretrial hearing scheduled on December 4
  • Trump's camp said his presence in hearings could mean huge security risks and expenses
  • Judge Merchan asked Trump to refrain from making comments that could incite hostility

Despite being a "high-profile defendant," Donald Trump is expected to personally appear at his next pretrial hearing on charges stemming from the alleged hush money he paid to porn star Stormy Daniels.

Judge Juan Merchan said Trump's presence in the next hearing is necessary even if it could bring disruption to New York City.

"I expect all other defendants to appear in court, even high-profile defendants," Merchan said according to a hearing transcript cited by NBC News.

Todd Blanche, one of Trump's legal counsels, raised issues on the huge expenses and security efforts needed for his client to physically attend the pretrial hearing, noting "all of lower Manhattan was shut down today."

Blanche clarified that this does not mean that Trump does not want to attend the hearings.

Merchan said he would revisit his decision in the future but denied the request for now.

The judge also did not impose a gag order on Trump as he says, "such restraints are the most serious and least intolerable on First Amendment rights."

He instead called on both parties to refrain from throwing remarks which could later incite violence or civil unrest, as well as statements that could undermine the rule of law.

Wearing a dark blue suit and a red tie, Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records following a probe into hush money he supposedly paid Daniels.

The 76-year-old Republican is the first former U.S. president to be criminally charged.

Trump's next pretrial hearing is slated for December 4, when prosecutors and the defense are expected to submit a series of motions.

As expected, anti-Trump demonstrators as well as supporters flooded the streets of Manhattan on Tuesday. Present were Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and George Santos who were forced to flee as scenes turned hostile.

After his historic courthouse appearance, Trump returned to his residence at Mar-a-Lago in Florida where he addressed his supporters.

In a 25-minute speech, the former president lashed out at Merchan, saying that he was a "Trump-hating judge".

He also expressed disbelief at the charges filed against him, a former U.S. president.

"I never thought anything like this could happen in America. Never thought it could happen. The only crime I have committed is to fearlessly defend our nation from those who seek to destroy it," Trump said in his opening statement.

Trump has since maintained innocence over the charges, insisting that it was solely a "witch hunt" against him and the Republican movement.

Dozens of Donald Trump supporters gathered outside the Manhattan court ahead of his unprecedented court appearance