Donald Trump, the former U.S. President and a top contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, made a courtroom appearance in Washington on Thursday to confront charges alleging his involvement in a conspiracy based on falsehoods to overturn the 2020 presidential election, which ultimately led to the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The arraignment took place just before 4 p.m. ET, with Trump entering the courtroom in a blue suit and red tie, ready to make his plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Moxila Upadhyaya. The courthouse is located approximately half a mile away from the U.S. Capitol, the site of the January 6, 2021, unrest when Trump supporters attempted to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory.
In a detailed 45-page indictment presented on Tuesday, Special Counsel Jack Smith accused Trump and his allies of promoting baseless claims of election rigging, putting pressure on state and federal officials to manipulate the results, and even assembling fake slates of electors in an attempt to overturn Biden’s electoral votes.
Trump faces four charges, including conspiracy to defraud the U.S., depriving citizens of their voting rights, and obstructing an official proceeding. The most serious offence carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
Reacting to the indictment, Trump took to his social media platform to dismiss the charges as a ploy to undermine his political campaign. Additionally, his campaign issued a statement comparing the Biden administration to fascist regimes.
This is the third indictment that Trump has faced in the last four months. He previously pleaded not guilty to federal charges involving classified documents and New York state charges related to falsifying documents in connection with hush money payments to a porn star.
Furthermore, Trump could be facing additional charges in Georgia, where a state prosecutor is investigating his attempts to overturn the election in that state. The prosecutor, Fani Willis, has announced her intention to file indictments by mid-August.
In a social media post ahead of his court appearance, Trump wrote, “I NEED ONE MORE INDICTMENT TO ENSURE MY ELECTION!” indicating his defiance amid the legal battles.