iNDICA NEWS BUREAU–
Former US President Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty to charges brought against him for mishandling classified documents.
“We most certainly enter a plea of not guilty,” Todd Blanche, one of Trump’s lawyers, told a federal court judge in Miami, Florida, on Tuesday.
Trump wore a dark suit and a trademark red tie. And according to accounts from reporters who were present in the courtroom (TV cameras were not allowed), he arrived about 30 minutes ahead of his time. He sat at the defendants table with his lawyers, sometimes with his arms crossed across his chest.
Jack Smith, the special counsel appointed by the Department of Justice to lead the case, sat across the room in the first row meant for people.
The former President faces 37 charges in the case — 31 of whom are about willful retention documents pertaining to national defence, including one that is about the “nuclear weaponry of the US”, according to the indictment. All together, the charges could get him 400 years in jail if found guilty.
Walt Nauta, an aide of the former President, is charged as a co-accused in the case with six charges.
This was the first time in US history that a former President is facing federal crime charges. He was charged in April in a case brought against him by New York state for payment of hush money to an adult film star who has claimed to have had an affair with Trump in 2005.
Trump faces another investigation, which is currently underway in the state of Georgia for allegedly trying to overturn the outcome of the 2020 presidential election in the state.
A fourth case might arise from federal investigations into the January 6 riots in 2020, when Trump’s supporters tried to prevent a joint session of the US Congress from certifying Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 election.
The former President was booked on arrival at the court in the afternoon, which included fingerprinting. He was not subjected, however, to the mugshot part of the routine and he has been released with no restrictions on movements as the judge deemed he is not a flight risk.
“What we are witnessing today is the blatant and unapologetic weaponisation of the criminal justice system,” Alina Habba, another of Trump’s lawyers told reporters outside the court.
Leaving for the courthouse, Trump wrote on Truth Social, “ON MY WAY TO COURTHOUSE. WITH HUNT!! MAGA.”
MAGA is short for Make America Great Again, his election campaign slogan.
Helicopter television crews tracked his motorcade just as they had done in April in New York. Hundreds of his supporters had gathered at the courthouse, but there had been no untoward incidents till after the hearing was over and Trump had left the premises with his lawyers and team.
His supporters did get a glimpse of him when his motorcade was leaving the courthouse — he was seen giving a thumbs-up sign from behind the window.
A man was seen being wrestled down to the ground by the Secret Service as he had apparently come in front of Trump’s vehicle. No further details were immediately available if the man was a supporter or a protestor.
iNDICA NEWS BUREAU–