Former President Donald Trump pleads not guilty to charges of election obstruction and interference. Legal team to vigorously defend him.
Former President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiring to obstruct the 2020 presidential election and interfering with voting rights. His legal team is preparing to ‘vigorously’ defend him.
The arraignment took place before US Magistrate Judge Moxila Upadhyaya at the federal courthouse in Washington. While the case progresses, Trump will remain free but is prohibited from communicating with witnesses except through his lawyers.
During the 30-minute hearing, Trump sat just a few feet from Special Counsel John “Jack” Smith — who has indicted him twice. They didn’t interact. Trump spoke little, as is typical for arraignments, though he made a point of stating his not guilty plea rather than have his lawyer, John Lauro, do it for him.
The former president faces his third criminal case, with the Fulton County district attorney in Georgia potentially pursuing a fourth indictment related to election interference, Upadhyaya said as reported by an international newspaper.
A hearing in Washington before US District Judge Tanya Chutkan is set for Aug. 28, during which Chutkan will schedule a trial date.
Trump’s presence at the hearing is not required. Prosecutors have a week to propose a schedule, and Trump’s legal team has another week to respond.
Trump’s legal team seeks delay
Lauro, part of Trump’s legal team, believes the case against Trump will take longer than prosecutors claim due to its complexity. He intends to seek a delay in the proceedings to vigorously defend against the charges, deeming a speedy trial “somewhat absurd.”
“All we would ask your honor is the opportunity to fairly defend our client, but in order to do that, we’re going to need a little time,” Lauro said.
Prosecutor Thomas Windom said the government was prepared to swiftly turn over a “substantial volume” of evidence, but said the Trump prosecution, “just like every other case,” would benefit from “normal order.”
Upadhyaya said that she could “guarantee everybody” there would be a “fair” process and trial.
Sad day for America: Trump
After the hearing, Trump briefly addressed reporters at the Washington airport, calling it a “very sad day for America.”
“This is a persecution of a political opponent. This was never supposed to happen in America,” he said.