Trump pleads not guilty to 37 charges

Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty to historic charges of mishandling sensitive files at a federal court in Miami, Florida.

Trump is the first US president – current or former – to be hit with a federal criminal indictment.

He appeared sombre in court, sitting in a dark suit and red tie with his arms crossed.

This was the second time Trump appeared in court this year, but Tuesday’s case was more serious.

In a 13th floor courtroom, 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.

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.

The former president, 76, was allowed to leave court without any restrictions to domestic or international travel.

Prosecutors told Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman the defendant was not considered a flight risk.

But Trump will not be allowed to discuss the case with Nauta.

Trump – frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination – was driven to court by motorcade from the Trump National Doral resort where he spent the night. He was accompanied by one of his sons, Eric Trump.

During the drive, 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!!!”

Before the hearing, court officials said Trump would not have a mugshot taken but would be digitally fingerprinted and asked to submit a DNA sample by swab.

A trial date has not yet been set, though the case is still earmarked for Aileen Cannon, a federal district judge in South Florida who was appointed by Trump.

The former president, who has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, is expected to return to his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he will make remarks to the media.

Small crowds of Trump supporters and counter-protesters gathered outside the court.

City authorities had prepared for possible unrest, but Mayor Francis Suarez told reporters on Tuesday afternoon there had not been any security problems. (BBC)


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