Trump pleads not guilty to election charges, calls it a ‘sad day for America’. Follow live updates here
Jun 13, 2023
WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump has arrived at the federal courthouse in Washington to surrender to authorities on charges he plotted to overturn his 2020 defeat in the presidential election.
Former President Donald Trump waves Thursday as he steps off his plane at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Va., as he heads to Washington to face a judge on federal conspiracy charges.
The early front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination is appearing before a magistrate judge on charges including conspiracy to defraud the United States. The courthouse sits within sight of the U.S. Capitol that his supporters attacked on Jan. 6, 2021, to stop Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.
It’s the third criminal case filed against Trump this year, but the first to try to hold him criminally responsible for his efforts to cling to power in the weeks between his election loss and the Capitol attack that stunned the world as it unfolded live on TV.
Trump’s motorcade made its way through D.C.’s crowded streets, using lights and sirens — a journey documented in wall-to-wall cable coverage once again.
Trump has said he did nothing wrong and has accused special counsel Jack Smith of trying to thwart his chances of returning to the White House in 2024.
An indictment Tuesday from Smith charges Trump with four felony counts related to his efforts to undo his presidential election loss in the run-up to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol, including conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding. The charges could lead to a yearslong prison sentence in the event of a conviction.
Three police officers who defended the U.S. Capitol against violent rioters on Jan. 6, 2021, are in the courtroom for Donald Trump’s hearing Thursday.
Daniel Hodges and Aquilino Gonnell were injured, and Harry Dunn was chased by violent protesters. Hodges was a District of Columbia police officer, and Dunn and Gonnell worked for the U.S. Capitol police, tasked with protecting the Capitol and the lawmakers inside.
“All I have wanted from day one is accountability,” Dunn said in a statement released by his lawyer after he went into the federal court in Washington, D.C.
Special counsel Smith entered the courtroom shortly after the officers were seen inside.
“Our democracy is worth fighting for. Not prosecuting is far riskier than having no consequences for the alleged power grab attempts,” Gonell said in a statement.
Trump has entered the courtroom where he will appear before a federal judge.
Trump, wearing a suit and red tie, sat at the defense table and chatted with his lawyers while waiting for the hearing to begin in Washington's federal courthouse. At one point, he scribbled notes on a piece of paper in front of him and handed it to his lawyer.
He's charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States and other crimes.
Special counsel Smith is sitting in the courtroom's front row.
Trump pleaded not guilty to federal conspiracy charges accusing him of plotting to subvert the will of voters and overturn his 2020 election loss.
Before entering his plea, Trump answered basic questions from the judge and was informed of the charges against him and the potential penalties. The most serious charges call for up to 20 years in prison.
Former President Donald Trump speaks Thursday before boarding his plane at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Va., after facing a judge on federal conspiracy charges.
Trump appeared before a magistrate judge in Washington’s federal courthouse two days after being indicted. The charges mark the first effort to try to hold Trump criminally responsible for his efforts to block the transfer of power on Jan. 6, 2021.
Trump says he is innocent, and his legal team has characterized the latest case as an attack on his right to free speech.
The next hearing in Trump’s 2020 election conspiracy case has been set for Aug. 28, just days after the first debate in the 2024 Republican presidential primary debate.
The hearing set for later this month will be the first one in front of U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who will oversee the case brought by special counsel Smith.
Magistrate Judge Moxila Upadhyaya said Chutkan is willing to waive Trump’s appearance at the hearing so he doesn’t have to attend. The judge is expected to set a trial date then.
An Aug. 28 hearing would fall just five days after the first Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee. Although Trump has repeatedly suggested he will not participate — saying he sees little benefit in appearing alongside lower-polling rivals — he has not explicitly ruled it out.
Trump has left Washington’s federal courthouse after pleading not guilty to federal conspiracy charges alleging a plot to overturn the 2020 election in a bid to cling to power.
Trump entered his plea in the same courthouse where more than 1,000 of his supporters have been charged with federal crimes for their participation in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol that halted the certification of Joe Biden’s victory.
He was released on conditions, including that he he not have contact about the case with any witnesses unless attorneys are present.
“If you fail to comply with any conditions of your release, a warrant may be issued for your arrest,” Judge Upadhyaya told him.
Trump’s face appeared set and serious, and he occasionally wrote on a paper in front of him throughout the hearing. As it drew to a close, Trump thanked the judge before leaving the courtroom through the same door that he entered.
Trump and special counsel Smith, sitting in the front row of the courtroom gallery about 15 feet from Trump's seat at the defense table with his lawyers, didn’t appear to make any obvious eye contact before or during the hearing.
The complications of Trump not being allowed to discuss the case with potential witnesses was underscored by the entourage that traveled with him to Washington on Thursday. He was accompanied by top campaign aides including Boris Epshteyn, a longtime adviser who was part of the efforts to overturn the election results by organizing fake electors.
Trump said it was a “very sad day for America” after pleading not guilty Thursday in Washington’s federal court to charges that he conspired to overturn the 2020 election.
Trump addressed the proceedings in a brief statement on a drizzly tarmac before he boarded his plane back to New Jersey., characterizing the case as a “persecution” designed to hurt his 2024 presidential campaign.
“We can’t let this happen in America,” Trump said.
This story will be updated with the latest developments.
Read the indictment here:
Scene: Trump in DC for historic 2020 election charges
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Former President Donald Trump called it a “very sad day for America” after pleading not guilty in Washington’s federal court to charges that h…Listen now and subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | RSS Feed | Omny StudioRead the indictment here:Listen now and subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | RSS Feed | Omny Studio