Former President Donald Trump appeared in federal court in Washington, DC on August 3 and was arraigned by Magistrate Judge Moxila Upadyaha on charges that he worked to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
The courthouse is approximately half a mile (1 km) from the U.S. Capitol building which Trump’s supporters stormed on Jan 6, 2021 in a failed attempt to stop Congress from certifying the election win of President Joe Biden. A small number of protesters for and against Trump gathered outside the DC courthouse.
The former president was processed by law enforcement and pleaded not guilty. The judge then approved conditions for his release and warned him against committing any crimes. The plea kickstarts months of legal wrangling. His next court hearing in the case was set for August 28.
On August 1, Trump was charged by the Justice Department’s special counsel Jack Smith with four felony counts related to his attempts to overturn his 2020 election loss in the lead up to the January 6 storming of the Capitol. The 45-page indictment includes four felony counts: conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, depriving citizens of their right to have their votes counted and obstructing and conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding. The indictment is Trump’s third in four months. If convicted, Trump could face a yearslong prison sentence.
While Trump was the only person charged in the case, six unnamed co-conspirators were referenced by prosecutors in the case. They say Trump conspired with these people including in a plan to enlist fake electors in seven battleground states to challenge Biden’s certification.
The former president has claimed, without providing evidence, that the special counsel’s team is trying to interfere in the 2024 presidential election, in which he is the early front-runner for the Republican nomination.
It is not clear how the case will impact Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign. There is no law in the U.S. that prevents a criminal defendant, even if convicted, from campaigning or holding office.
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