Donald Trump pleads not guilty to 37 federal charges, decries investigation
The 45th president’s arraignment came one day before his 77th birthday and 50 years since Watergate hearings began that eventually brought down Richard Nixon.
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - On Tuesday, Donald J. Trump has become the first ex-president in American history to be indicted on criminal charges by the federal government he once oversaw.
One day before his 77th birthday, Trump appeared in Miami at the Wilkie D. Ferguson federal courthouse for his arraignment after an indictment last week listed 37 charges alleging the mishandling of classified documents. The nation’s 45th president appeared before Magistrate Court Judge Jonathan Goodman shortly after 3 p.m. and left about 45 minutes later after pleading not guilty to all charges. Trump was released on his own recognizance and stopped at the Miami restaurant Versailles where he prayed with local pastor Mario Bramnick and many of his supporters.
Trump also spoke Tuesday evening at his Bedminster, New Jersey, club.
Trump’s historic court appearance coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Watergate hearings, a series of events which began in May 1973 and eventually led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation. The arraignment kickstarts a legal process that will unfold at the height of the 2024 presidential campaign and carry profound consequences not only for his political future but also for his own personal liberty.
Atlanta News First followed Trump’s arraignment with these live updates:
3:48 p.m. Trump and his co-defendant Walt Nauta have left the courthouse. The entire arraignment took about 45 minutes. Trump has been released on his own recognizance; there are no domestic or international travel restrictions, and Trump will not surrender his passport. The former president is expected to leave the courthouse soon and board his private jet to Bedminster, New Jersey, where he will deliver remarks later this evening at his club.
3:07 p.m. Trump pleads not guilty to 37 federal charges, according to CBS News, in federal case number 23-CR80101. Trump is now a federal criminal defendant. He appeared before Magistrate Court Judge Jonathan Goodman.
3 p.m. Trump and his attorneys have entered the courtroom and his arraignment has begun.
2:18 p.m. Trump attorney and spokesperson Alina Habba gives a statement to the media, condemning the indictment.
2:18 p.m. Trump is booked on charges relating to the mishandling of classified documents. That’s according to the U.S. Marshals Service, which said Trump and Walt Nauta had been booked shortly after they arrived Tuesday afternoon. Both men are expected to appear at the defense table shortly on charges that they wrongly held onto classified documents.
2:08 p.m. CBS News reports that Trump has entered the courthouse for his arraignment.
1:52 p.m. Trump has arrived at the Miami federal courthouse.
Four black SUVs entered the garage beneath the Miami courthouse, followed by police officers, ahead of his scheduled appearance. A fifth black SUV remained outside. Security remained tight outside the building but there were no signs of significant disruptions.
Trump rode to court with his son Eric, who accompanied the motorcade from the former president’s Doral resort to the courthouse. The former president could be seen stopping and waving at supporters, as well as chatting with staff members. Eric Trump appeared to clap his father on the back just before he climbed in a vehicle.
This is the second criminal case Trump is facing as he seeks to reclaim the White House in 2024. He’s also accused in New York state court of falsifying business records related to hush-money payments made during the 2016 campaign.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is planning to make a “historical decision” this summer following a letter she sent to Fulton County officials regarding an investigation into the former president.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing, saying he’s being unfairly targeted by political opponents who want to hurt his campaign. After his court appearance, Trump will return to New Jersey, where he’s expected to hold a press event to publicly respond to the charges.
1:32 p.m. Trump motorcade is now en route to the Wilkie D. Ferguson federal courthouse.
1:22 p.m. Trump will be digitally fingerprinted and have his birthdate and Social Security number taken as part of the booking process Tuesday at the federal courthouse in Miami, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service told the Associated Press.
The spokesman said the former president will forgo a mugshot because enough photos of him already exist in the system. The spokesman said that booking could take place before Trump appears in court or afterward, depending on when he arrives. He said authorities did not plan to immediately alert the media once Trump had arrived.
Security is tight outside the Wilkie D. Ferguson federal courthouse Tuesday ahead of Trump’s appearance.
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