Former US President Donald Trump pleaded “not guilty” to all four charges stemming from the January 6 riot as he appeared in a Washington, DC court.
Trump faces one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, one count of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, one count of obstruction of an attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and one count of conspiracy against rights.
Obama-nominated District Judge Tanya Chutkan has been assigned to preside over the criminal case. Chutkan has spoken on numerous occasions against efforts to overturn the election and disrupt the transfer of power. Moreover, she previously ruled against Trump’s efforts to prevent his White House records from being given to the January 6 committee.
Trump’s first appearance comes not in front of Chutkan, but Magistrate Judge Moxila A. Upadhyaya.
This is Trump’s third indictment this year.
While en route to the hearing, Trump posted on TruthSocial that he “needs one more indictment to secure the election.” He also accused Democrats of an “unprecedented weaponization” of the judiciary against him, by far the Republican Party’s leading candidate for the 2024 presidential race.
When Trump arrived at the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse in Washington an hour before the hearing, there were hundreds of people waiting to catch a glimpse and hundreds of media reporters from all over the country reporting on a whopping 3rd indictment. Some waited in line overnight at the courthouse in order to report on the indictment first-hand.
Only 6 journalists were chosen, lottery-style, to sit inside the courtroom and the rest were directed to adjacent media rooms for the proceedings.
Inside the courtroom, Trump could be seen speaking with his attorneys, Todd Blanche and John Lauro, who flanked him at each side. Trump appeared at times to be bored and distracted, and during the proceedings, he appeared to catch and hold the eye of special counsel Jack Smith, who attended the proceedings as an audience member.
Over the course of an hour, all accusations, rights, and deals were disclosed over the keyboard backdrop provided by present media, and the next trial date was set for August 28.