Trump Pleads Not Guilty to Illegal Documents Charges
Former President of the United States, Donald Trump, has denied all allegations of illegal possession of classified documents during his administration. The 76-year-old has pleaded not guilty in front of a US federal court in Miami, where he is facing a total of 37 charges.
The first hearing of the document controversy was held in Miami, behind closed doors. Trump's attorney, Todd Blanche, represented him in court, while cameras and other electronic devices were not allowed. The current Republican presidential candidate was required to appear in person and is the first ex-president to face federal charges.
Witnesses are off-limits for Trump
Due to the charges against him in the document controversy, Trump is not allowed to speak directly to witnesses about the case. This decision was reportedly made by the judge during a hearing and includes Walt Nauta, Trump's assistant, who is also indicted in the case. The judge acknowledged that the two men needed to communicate daily but stated that anything related to the case must go through their lawyers.
Protests outside the courthouse
Prior to the hearing, several hundred Trump supporters gathered outside the courthouse, while Trump opponents also protested in Miami. In order to prevent potential violence, a large police presence was deployed. Following the indictment, some far-right Trump supporters made martial comments, which raised concerns about possible riots.
Trump accused of hiding documents from authorities
Last week, Trump faced 37 charges for illegally taking secret documents from the White House to his residence, Mar-a-Lago, in Florida, where he concealed them from authorities. Special investigator Jack Smith accused the former president of violating the law in January 2021, shortly before leaving office. The FBI searched Trump's villa in August and seized multiple classified documents from his time in office, some of which were rated as highly classified. The documents included sensitive information about US nuclear weapons, military plans of the US, international military capabilities and activities, and a foreign country's nuclear capability. Additionally, Trump allegedly disclosed the information to unauthorized individuals.
More investigations underway
Trump is the first ex-president of the United States to be charged by the US Department of Justice; however, other cases are ongoing. He is accused in the state of New York of making hush money payments to a porn star during his presidential campaign in 2016. Furthermore, investigations relating to Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election result are taking place in Washington and Atlanta.
Trump has denied all wrongdoing and claimed to be a victim of political persecution. He confirmed that he will not withdraw from the race for the Republican presidential nomination for the 2024 election under any circumstances.