August 3, 2023
Former President Donald Trump on Thursday appeared for his arraignment in Washington, D.C. before Magistrate Judge Maxilla Upadhyaya and pleaded "not guilty" to all criminal charges stemming from Special Counsel Jack Smith's latest indictment related to the 2020 presidential election and the January 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Smith charged Trump on Tuesday with four counts: conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against constitutional rights.
The indictment states that Trump "for more than two months following election day on November 3, 2020... spread lies that there had been outcome-determinative fraud in the election and that he had actually won."
While the indictment acknowledges Trump had a right to "speak publicly about the election and even to claim, falsely, that there had been outcome-determinative fraud during the election and that he had won," the indictment stipulates an alleged conspiracy and unlawful activities "discounting legitimate votes and subverting the election results."
This latest indictment stipulates six unnamed co-conspirators with whom Trump allegedly did "conspire, confederate, and agree" to defraud the country.
Following today’s arraignment, Trump attorney Alina Habba spoke outside the courthouse.
"This is election interference at its finest, against the leading candidate right now for president," Habba stated. "President Trump is under siege.”
Trump and his legal team would "fight not for him, but for the American people,” she further added.
Magistrate Judge Upadhyaya set Trump's next hearing for August 28 at 10 a.m. before Judge Tanya Chutkan.
The first republican presidential debate will be held just days before on August 23.
Before departing the Washington, D.C. area, the former president spoke on the tarmac.
Trump accused President Joe Biden of orchestrating the “persecution of a political opponent.”
“This was never supposed to happen in America,” Trump stated firmly. “We can’t let this happen in America.”
Calling the arraignment a “sad day,” former President Trump continued claiming there was more “filth and decay” in the capitol than when he resided in the White House.
“This is not the place that I left,” Trump said.
Trump boasted of his lead in the polls “beating Biden by a lot.”
“If you can’t beat him, you persecute or you prosecute,” the former president accused the sitting president’s administration.
This is Trump's second federal indictment, and third indictment in total.
Trump and two of his employees were charged by Special Prosecutor Smith over the alleged mishandling of classified documents at Mar-A-Lago. The former President has pleaded not guilty to all of those 37 charges and Smith even brought additional charges against him after that first indictment in that criminal case.
Trump has already pleaded not guilty to 34 state charges in a hush-money scheme brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Lurking around the corner is a possible additional indictment related to the 2020 presidential race in Georgia in Fulton County. That investigation was instigated by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. It centers on whether Trump violated the law while challenging the 2020 Georgia presidential election results.
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Christine Dolan is a seasoned Investigative Journalist, television producer, author, and photographer. She is Co-Founder of American Conversations whose format focuses on in-depth analysis of critical issues about “the story behind the headlines.”