Former US President, Donald Trump pleaded not guilty to the first federal criminal charges brought against him during an initial appearance to answer an indictment at a courthouse in Miami on Tuesday, June 13.
According to various American reports , a lawyer for Trump entered a plea of not guilty on 37 counts of illegally retaining classified documents and obstructing the government’s efforts to get them back.
“We most certainly enter a plea of not guilty,” the attorney, Todd Blanche, told the judge.
The former president appeared sombre in court, sitting in a dark suit and red tie with his arms crossed.
Trump’s co-defendant, Walt Nauta – a close aide charged with six criminal counts in the case was sitting at the same table as the former president and also pleaded not guilty.
Trump, 76, was allowed to leave court without restrictions, after prosecutors told Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman the defendant was not considered a flight risk.
Trump, a frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination was driven to court by a motorcade from the Trump National Doral resort where he spent the night.
As he was driven to court, several messages were posted to his account on the social media platform Truth Social, including one in all capital letters saying: “One of the saddest days in the history of our country. We are a nation in decline!!!
Trump has accused prosecutors of conducting a “witch hunt” in bringing the case over his alleged failure to return sensitive national security records after leaving office. Jack Smith, the special counsel appointed by attorney-general Merrick Garland to oversee investigations into the former president, was present in the courtroom, according to media reports.