Former President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty to charges that he tried to steal the 2020 election − following his third arrest and court arraignment in four months..
A somber-faced Trump entered the courtroom at about 4 p.m. to be arraigned, wearing a navy blue suit, a red tie and a white shirt. He folded his hands on the table in front of him, put his head down and sat between his attorneys, Todd Blanche and John Lauro.
Trump and his attorneys quietly talked among themselves, waiting for Magistrate Judge Moxila A. Upadhyaya to enter.
Special counsel Jack Smith, who led the indictment, appeared to be 15 feet away from Trump, and the two exchanged a few looks at each other, including one from Smith that lasted longer than 20 seconds.
The hearing began more than 30 minutes after the former president first took a seat in the courtroom. He shook his head “no” as the criminal case was read.
Trump offered his own plea: not guilty
Both sides agreed to a “speedy” trial, though Trump’s legal team has moved to delay court proceedings in previous cases.
Before his federal court appearance began, the former president called for the trial to be moved from heavily Democratic Washington, D.C., to a more Republican-friendly place like West Virginia.
“This Indictment is all about Election Interference!!!” said the front-running Republican candidate on his Truth Social website.
As he left court late Thursday afternoon, chants of “lock him up” were heard outside the courtroom.
It wasn’t immediately clear if anti-Trump protesters outnumbered Trump supporters, but they were certainly louder.
Just before Trump boarded his Boeing 757, he told reporters the legal process is unfair.
“This is a very sad day for America,” he said before leaving Reagan National Airport for New Jersey. As he held an umbrella to block the ongoing rain, Trump called the case the “persecution of a political opponent.”
“This was never supposed to happen in America,” he said, leaving Washington under a dark cloud.
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