Washington [US: Former US President Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty to four federal charges stemming from his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, CNN reported. The next hearing in the Trump election interference case is set for August 28. Magistrate Judge Moxila Upadhyaya scheduled the next hearing in the election subversion case for August 28 at 10 a.m. ET. That proceeding will happen before US District Judge Tanya Chutkan.
Prosecutor Thomas Windom said the government was available on all of the days that the magistrate judge offered as potential hearing days, but would prefer the earliest one. The Trump team requested August 28, the latest of the three options.
“I will also note, Mr. Trump, that to the extent you are not able to attend as a result of your schedule, I have consulted with Judge Chutkan and she is willing to waive your appearance,” Upadhyaya said.
Prosecutors from special counsel Jack Smith’s office did not seek pretrial detention for Donald Trump. Instead, the former president will be released on very minimal conditions of release, which include not being allowed to communicate with anyone known to be a witness in the case unless through an attorney, CNN reported.
Trump stood and raised his right hand, swearing to abide by the conditions of release and he also signed papers agreeing to the conditions. Trump was indicted on Tuesday as part of special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into Trump’s efforts to reverse the election leading up to the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.
He was charged with these four counts; Conspiracy to defraud the United States, Conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, Obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and Conspiracy against rights. “How does Mr. Trump plead?” Magistrate Judge Moxila Upadhyaya asked Trump how he pleaded to counts 1-4 in the indictment.
“Not guilty,” Trump said.
Trump was joined by his attorneys John Lauro and Todd Blanche. Another Trump attorney, Evan Corcoran, who has not formally entered an appearance in the case was seated at a row behind the defense table. The case in Washington is the third indictment filed against Trump in the last four months and the most all-encompassing, accusing him of attempting to undermine the peaceful transfer of power from one president to the next, one of the central tenets of US democracy.
It accuses him of orchestrating a plan to retain power even though aides repeatedly told him he had lost the election and there was no proof of substantial fraud that would have changed the outcome, as he claimed then and does to this day, VOA reported. In a fiery fundraising email, the former president assailed his rival, President Joe Biden, for overseeing “a dystopian Third World dictatorship that has only temporarily taken control of our once great and free Republic.”
Trump is the first US president, in office or after his term, in the country’s 247-year history to face criminal charges, VOA reported. Security was tightened around the US courthouse in Washington, with some streets closed to traffic and large trucks with plough blades positioned bumper to bumper to block entryways in the event any troublemakers appear. Dozens of officers stood guard in the area. Tow trucks were removing parked cars.
The courthouse is located just blocks from the US Capitol, near where Trump on January 6, 2021, urged thousands of his supporters to go and “fight like hell” to prevent lawmakers from certifying that Biden had won the election, VOA reported.
About 2,000 rioters rampaged into the Capitol building that day, clashing with police, ransacking congressional offices and delaying the final votes in the Electoral College showing that Biden had won until the early hours of January 7. Trump, to no avail, had demanded that then-Vice President Mike Pence, presiding over the Electoral College vote count, block the outcome to keep them in power.
Despite the growing number of criminal charges Trump is facing, he is far and away the leading Republican contender for the party’s 2024 presidential nomination and could again face Biden, the Democrat who defeated him in 2020 and replaced Trump as president in early 2021.
Trump is also facing a state trial in New York in March 2024 on charges that he altered business records at his real-estate conglomerate to hide a USD 130,000 hush money payment to a porn film performer ahead of his successful 2016 run for the presidency to silence her claim that she had a one-night tryst with Trump a decade earlier. Trump has denied the affair occurred, VOA reported.
In another case, Smith indicted Trump on charges that he illegally retained 32 highly classified national security documents at his oceanside Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida after he left office in early 2021 and then conspired with a personal aide to keep from having to hand them over to federal investigators who had subpoenaed them. That trial is set for next May. (ANI)
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