Former US President Donald Trump pleads ‘Not Guilty’ in election subversion case

Donald Trump

Former United States President  Donald Trump was on Thursday arraigned in a Washington federal courtroom on four charges tied to his efforts to stay in power after losing the 2020 election.

“This is a very sad day for America,” Mr. Trump, who faces four charges in a federal indictment accusing him of conspiring to stay in power after losing the 2020 election said before heading to his residence in Bedminster, N.J.

The former president pleaded not guilty  to charges that he conspired to remain in office despite his 2020 election loss, appearing before a judge in a Washington courthouse in the shadow of the Capitol, where his supporters rampaged in an effort to undermine the peaceful transfer of power.

Mr. Trump, who is running in the hopes of being sworn in again on the steps of the Capitol, stood before a federal magistrate judge who asked for his plea to the four counts he faced. He replied, “Not guilty.”

It was the third time in four months he stood before a judge on criminal charges. But it was the most momentous, the beginning of what prosecutors say should be a reckoning for his multipronged efforts to undermine one of the core tenets of democracy.

Magistrate Judge Moxila A. Upadhyaya, who oversaw the roughly half-hour hearing, ordered Mr. Trump not to communicate about the case with any witnesses except through counsel or in the presence of counsel. At the request of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, she set

the date for the first hearing before the trial judge, Tanya S. Chutkan, for Aug. 28 — the latest option she provided.

Delaying the proceedings as much as possible is widely expected to be part of Mr. Trump’s legal strategy, given that he could effectively call off federal cases against him if he wins the 2024 election.

The jockeying began on Thursday. After Judge Upadhyaya gave prosecutors a week to propose a trial date, one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, John F. Lauro, complained that the government had had

years to investigate and he and his colleagues were going to need time to fairly defend their client. She directed him to bring it up with the trial judge, and for prosecutors to respond within five days of his filing.

Following the hearing, Mr. Trump spoke briefly at Reagan National Airport, saying it was “a very sad day for America.”

Mr. Trump said he was a victim of “persecution” by President Biden’s Justice Department. “This was never supposed to happen in America,” he said before boarding his private plane to return to Bedminster, N.J.

The courthouse where Mr. Trump appeared has already hosted a stream of trials for Trump supporters accused of attacking the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Security was heavy, with officers on foot and on horseback and barricades erected on the sidewalk. The crowd — made up of Mr. Trump’s critics and his supporters — clogged the area outside the courthouse, with some carrying pro-Trump signs and others shouting anti-Trump slogans, including

“Lock him up!”

Here’s what to know:

  • Mr. Trump had to wait in the courtroom for about 20 minutes before the hearing began. During his appearance, he gave brief answers to the judge’s questions, and he thanked her at the

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