Defiant Trump States His Case: 'Not Guilty'

Before arriving at court, former president called his arraignment a 'great honor'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2023 1:50 PM CDT
Updated Aug 3, 2023 3:33 PM CDT
Trump: This Arraignment Is a 'Great Honor'
Former President Donald Trump waves as he steps off his plane at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023, in Arlington, Va.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Donald Trump returned to Washington on Thursday, this time to face arraignment on felony charges that he tried to overturn the 2020 election results:

  • In court: After flying from New Jersey to DC, the former president arrived at a federal courthouse across the street from the Capitol on Thursday afternoon, per CNN. After being booked and fingerprinted, Trump pleaded not guilty to the four charges brought by special counsel Jack Smith, reports CNN. Prosecutors did not ask that he be detained before trial. US District Judge Tanya Chutkan set the next hearing in the case for Aug. 28, per the Washington Post.
  • The scene: Trump appeared in the courtroom with attorneys John F. Lauro and Todd Blanche, per the New York Times. Special counsel Smith also was present. The two were about 20 feet apart. "As to counts one to four, how does Mr. Trump plead?" the judge asked Trump while he stood at the defense table, between his attorneys, per the Post. "Trump raised his head and said, 'Not guilty.'"

  • Defiant: Before arriving in DC, Trump took to Truth Social. "I am now going to Washington, D.C., to be arrested for having challenged a corrupt, rigged & stolen election," he wrote in all caps, per CNBC. "It is a great honor, because I am being arrested for you. Make America Great Again!!!"
  • The charges: The AP has a breakdown of the specific charges Trump faces in this case—obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the US, and conspiracy to prevent others from carrying out their constitutional rights. The story explains each, though all fall under a broad umbrella: Prosecutors say Trump knew his claims of a stolen election were false but tried to overturn the results anyway through various means.
  • Third arrest: This is Trump's third arrest in four months. He has previously pleaded not guilty to business fraud in Manhattan related to payments made to Stormy Daniels, and to mishandling classified documents.
(Meet the judge handling the latest case, an Obama appointee.)

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