Not Guilty, pleaded Donald Trump before a federal judge to dozens of felony counts of document theft and other related crimes.
Ex-president Donald Trump is now the first president in the history of the United States to be charged with a crime by the Justice Department. He was indicted last week with 37 felony counts, most of them under the Espionage Act, of illegal keeping and string classified documents which belonged to the White House, and of trying to conceal them when they were demanded back by the Justice Department.
The indictment Friday accuses Trump of illegally holding back national security documents that he took with him from the White House to Mar-a-Lago after he left office in January 2021. The documents he stored, prosecutors say, included information on nuclear programs, defense and weapons capabilities of the U.S. and foreign governments and a Pentagon “attack plan.” He is accused of showing off some to people who didn’t have security clearances to view them.
Beyond that, according to the indictment, he repeatedly tried to obstruct government efforts to recover the documents, including by directing his valet Walt Nauta to move boxes and also suggesting to his own lawyer that he hide or destroy documents already named in a Justice Department subpoena.
Through his lawyers, Trump entered a plea of Not Guilty to all charges on Tuesday. He was taciturn inside the courtroom, but inflammatory outside of it, using social media and stump rhetoric on his way both two and from court to call the entire legal process, which has handled him with kid gloves every step of the way, “a witch hunt.” As he’s done every time any court case is filed against him, and has since before he even considered running for office.
He was escorted from the courtroom by law enforcement officers, but was released immediately on his own recognizance, without bail or even having to turn over his passport.
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