google-site-verification=0bx1QYafX4YUxAV2RLbOiDD2WzOMRAju_YMPZqdCR1E President Trump pleads not guilty to classified documents case

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President Trump pleads not guilty to classified documents case


Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to federal criminal charges that he kept top military secrets in his Mar-a-Lago home and obstructed government attempts to retrieve the documents.

Mr Trump's attorney Todd Blanche told the federal judge who presided over Mr Trump's 48-minute trial, "Your Excellency, we are certainly not guilty."

After the hearing, Trump was released on bail. Prosecutors did not ask for any material conditions before the trial, such as restricting his movement or surrendering his passport. Investigating Judge Jonathan Goodman has ordered President Trump not to discuss the case with potential witnesses without the presence of a lawyer.

Trump faces 37 criminal charges, including 31 for knowingly possessing national security documents and six for obstructing federal efforts to retrieve them. accused of a crime. It is the first time in U.S. history that a former president has been indicted by his former government.

Dressed in a blue suit and red tie, Trump remained alert throughout the trial, his arms folded across his chest and his eyes on the courtroom. He spoke nothing to the judge. Only about 10 commissioners were allowed to attend the hearings, and most of the courtroom was filled with reporters and details about Trump's secret devices.

The hearings began with an eerie silence as Trump and his lawyers waited for the trial to begin. To Trump's left was Christopher Case, a prominent Florida attorney who hired Trump to represent him last year, and to his right was Blanche, a New York attorney who joined Trump's team in April.. Next to Mr. Branch was Mr. Trump's longtime valet turned defendant Walt Nauta, who sat next to his personal attorney Stanley Woodward.

The prosecution seat included Attorney David Harbach, a Justice Department veteran and longtime ally of Special Counsel Jack Smith, as well as Counterintelligence Director Jay Pratt and Deputy Assistant Deputy Julie Edelstein.

For Trump, impeachment is the latest watershed in his growing legal woes. Just 10 weeks ago, Trump was indicted with 34 felonies under New York state law by Manhattan prosecutors for allegedly forging business documents in connection with paying hush money to porn stars.

Trump is now facing parallel criminal trials as he ramps up efforts to retake the White House in 2024, not to mention his role in meddling in the 2020 election.

If Trump is found guilty in the document case, he could face a lengthy prison sentence.

Shortly after Trump arrived at Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Federal Courthouse on Tuesday afternoon, officials took Trump and Nauta as criminal defendants. Naota has been charged with conspiring with Trump to obstruct a grand jury investigation into allegations that Trump was holding top-secret military secrets. Nauta faces six criminal charges. He was released on bail on Tuesday after failing to file a petition because he had yet to appoint a local councilor.

Goodman and his lawyers debated through much of the lawsuit whether Trump should follow a so-called no-contact order that limits his ability to speak to witnesses. Judges regularly impose such orders on defendants awaiting trial, but prosecutors have not sought a restraining order against Trump. The Trump campaign strongly opposed the idea, noting that Nauta and some of the witnesses worked at Mar-a-Lago and would need to be in regular contact with Trump.

Goodman initially said he wanted to enforce a no-contact order, but after the two sides exchanged views, Goodman withdrew his motion and told Trump not to discuss the matter except with attorneys with witness lists. I was just giving instructions. Plaintiffs will sue.

No future trial date for Trump has been set, and Goodman suggested at the end of the hearing that his brief involvement in the case was likely over. The case was assigned to President Trump-appointed Judge Eileen Cannon, who ruled in Trump's favor early in the document review.

The case will lead to a lengthy trial as prosecutors and Trump's lawyers struggle to reach agreement on evidence in the case and set a trial date.

Hours before Trump's arrival, it was a hot and humid day in Miami with the same tension as usual. Security forces and police stepped up patrols around the courthouse and warned of street clashes and other potential dangers. The tense atmosphere is reminiscent of Trump's first trial in a Lower Manhattan courthouse in April.

Journalists and stakeholders began lining up at the Miami Courthouse on Monday night to secure a seat in the small courtroom where Trump will stand trial. The court also created "overcrowded" rooms and imposed a new daily limit on journalists carrying electronic devices. Cameras are not allowed indoors.

In the days since his indictment last week, Mr. Trump has attacked the Justice Department in an effort to find the indictment politically motivated despite evidence against him. He gave special instructions to Smith during the investigation.

Among the issues still under discussion is Trump's legal team. Blanche and Case accompanied him on Tuesday, but he was actively seeking additional lawyers after most of the documentary team resigned. Tim Perlatore resigned from the team last month amid internal conflict, and two other attorneys, John Lowry and Jim Keynes, left the team around the same time Trump was indicted.

Outside the court, the tension and theatricality slowly built up throughout the day. Armed guards were also seen in the courtroom. When Trump arrived at the courtroom, there were hundreds of protesters, many of whom expressed their support for the former president.

Trump supporters wear pro-Trump t-shirts that say the president will "wage an unbelievable war" and "step on my flag and you'll trample your face." Others held placards reading "Lock Him Up" and "Orange is the New Trump," referring to Netflix shows and memoirs of women in federal prisons. One day, a man wearing an American flag held a large stick with a pig's head stuck in it. During the day, people drove past the courthouse honking their horns.

The demonstration was mostly peaceful, with many shouting "I want Trump" as the former president's motorcade arrived at the courthouse.

A Trump impersonator, a man dressed as Uncle Sam riding a hoverboard singing new lyrics to Elton John's hit "Rocketman" and describing Biden as a "puppet" appeared.

Josh Gerstein and Andrew Atterbury report from Miami. Reported by Kyle Cheney of Washington, D.C. Meredith McGraw contributed to this report.