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Northeast Ohio legal experts discuss charges against Donald Trump

Donald Trump pictured with legal team during arraignment in New York.
Seth Wenig
Former President Donald Trump appears in court for his arraignment, Tuesday, April 4, 2023, in New York. Trump surrendered to authorities ahead of his arraignment on criminal charges stemming from a hush money payment to a porn actor during his 2016 campaign. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Pool)

Former President Donald Trump is back in Florida after yesterday’s historic arraignment proceeding in New York. Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony criminal charges. The charges result from alleged payments made through an intermediary to two women, including adult film actress Stormy Daniels, to silence allegations of extra-marital sexual encounters during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The former president spent nearly two hours inside the Manhattan courthouse. He is the first former president to face criminal charges. But the judge in the case, Juan Merchan, did not allow a live video feed of the proceedings, so the arraignment took place behind closed doors. The public instead watched as Trump briefly entered and exited the building. Trump did not respond to reporter questions. His lawyers talked afterward and said the former president is “upset” and “angry” about the charges but “not worried at all.” The judge set the next in-person hearing date as Dec. 4. Prosecutors are aiming for a January 2024 trial. The defense is aiming for a later start date.

Later on Wednesday's "Sound of Ideas," a recent report from Smart Growth American ranked Cleveland the most equitably walkable city in the nation. The study authors found that no matter how much you make, or where you live in Cleveland, you likely can get to the places you need to be for your daily needs, within a short walk or transit ride. Cleveland wasn’t the only post-industrial city to land near the top of the study’s rankings.

Walkability provides benefits to resident beyond just convenience. Many health benefits are associated with more walkable neighborhoods, but not everyone in Cleveland agreed with the study’s conclusions and question how highly the city ranked in terms of equitable access.

Plus, Akron voters will select a new mayor this year to succeed Dan Horrigan. Seven Democrats are running to be the next mayor of Akron and will square off Wednesday in the first of two debates. The Akron Decides mayoral debate will be held at noon at Quaker Station conducted by Ideastream and the Akron Press Club. A second Akron Decides will be held next Wednesday evening at the Akron Summit County Public Library.

Anna Huntsman, Akron-Canton Reporter, Ideastream Public Media
Jonathan Entin, Professor Emeritus of Law, Case Western Reserve University
Jonathan Witmer-Rich, Professor of Law, Associate Dean, Cleveland State University College of Law
Taylor Wizner, Health Reporter, Ideastream Public Media
Matthew Moss, Manager, Strategic Initiatives, City Planning Commission
Chris Martin, Chair, Clevelanders for Public Transit

Leigh Barr is a coordinating producer for the "Sound of Ideas" and the "Sound of Ideas Reporters Roundtable."