Trump Pleads Not Guilty In Classified Documents Case

Former President Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty to a string of charges brought against him by federal prosecutors in connection with his alleged refusal to return classified records from his presidency. 

Trump appeared before U.S. District Court Magistrate Jonathan Goodman at the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. U.S. Courthouse in downtown Miami, where he entered his plea on Tuesday. Judge Aileen Cannon, who was nominated by Trump for the Southern District of Florida, will oversee the rest of the case. 

Cannon will preside over the pretrial legal battles and any potential jury trial, and ultimately determine Trump’s prison sentence should he be convicted.

The charges leveled against him include allegations of retaining classified documents, obstructing justice, and making false statements. Trump vehemently denies all 31 counts of willfully retaining national defense information, as well as the other charges related to obstruction of justice, document withholding, and concealing evidence. 

During the arraignment, Trump’s supporters gathered outside the courthouse to demonstrate their unwavering support for the former president. Pro-Trump chants and waving flags filled the air, outnumbering the scattered anti-Trump protesters. The crowd reportedly continued to grow as the day progressed, culminating in a sizable gathering of loyal Trump fans.

After maintaining his innocence via his attorney Todd Blanche and refusing to take a plea deal, Trump was granted freedom to leave without any travel restrictions imposed on him. However, Goodman ordered him to refrain from contacting potential witnesses and to have no further communication with his co-defendant and former body man, Walt Nauta.

The 37 felony counts that Trump faces, including charges under the Espionage Act, were detailed in a 49-page indictment presented by special counsel Jack Smith. The indictment alleges that the former president deliberately mishandled classified documents after leaving the White House and resisted returning them to the National Archives. 

The government further claims that Trump shared these sensitive defense secrets without proper clearances on multiple occasions and played a personal role in withholding them.

If convicted, the Espionage Act charges alone could carry a sentence of up to 10 years each, with additional penalties for obstructing justice and making false statements. However,

Trump remains undeterred and maintains his innocence amid the mounting legal pressure.

In an interview with conservative radio host Howie Carr ahead of his court appearance, the forerunning GOP candidate confidently declared his plea, stating, “I just say, ‘Not guilty.’”

“I didn’t do anything wrong. I did nothing wrong. Presidential Records Act. It’s not even a criminal event. There’s no criminality here. It’s ridiculous,” he continued.

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