Former U.S. President Donald J. Trump has pleaded not guilty to the newest indictment levelled against him by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) after an appearance at a federal courthouse in Washington D.C. on Thursday, August 3rd.
The indictment was brought by special counsel Jack Smith and revolves around allegations of election interference regarding the 2020 presidential election, which saw Trump lose to current president, Joe Biden.
U.S. Judge Moxila Upadhyaya presided over the Thursday hearing. She is an Indian immigrant who has donated exclusively to Democrats, was appointed last year, and has handled several cases related to the January 6th riots—which also form part of the current case against President Trump.
President Trump was charged with four different counts:
conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding; and conspiracy against rights.
He was advised he could face as much as 20 years in prison if convicted. He pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.
As with prior indictments against Trump, the prosecutors did not look to detain Mr. Trump in pretrial detention. He was released on the condition that he not speak to any known witnesses in the case unless it was via an attorney relating to the case, which Trump agreed to.
The court appearance lasted just 27 minutes. Another hearing is scheduled to take place on August 28th.
Trump’s indictment largely revolves around the events of ‘January 6th’, with the 45-page indictment accusing Trump of spreading false information, regarding the election, to “create an intense national atmosphere of mistrust and anger, and erode public faith in the administration of the election.”
Following the announcement of the indictment, Trump called the prosecution “reminiscent” of the Nazi regime and stated,
the entire Biden Administration knows that I’m the ONLY candidate who would defeat Crooked Joe in a free and fair election. They know how much support we have from the hardworking people of our country. But more importantly, they know that I’m the only candidate who can dismantle the Deep State and end [its] stranglehold on our nation.
The latest indictment against Trump has garnered harsh reactions from many conservatives in the U.S., including commentator Mark Levin, who stated that the indictment was “crap.”
He noted that the indictment did not charge Trump with treason, nor did it charge him with leading an insurrection, a term frequently used by media in the United States to describe the events of January 6th.
Levin was especially critical of the fact the indictment also covers conversations between Trump and his lawyers.
“What are the rules now? What now are the rules for running challenging and disputing elections and who decides? When can a candidate rely on legal advice? We have lawyers who are indicted for giving legal advice, the government disagrees with,” he said.
He also slammed former Vice President Mike Pence. Pence spoke out after the indictment saying,
Today’s indictment serves as an important reminder: anyone who puts himself over the Constitution should never be President of the United States.
“Our country is more important than one man. Our constitution is more important than any one man’s career. On January 6th, Former President Trump demanded that I choose between him and the Constitution. I chose the Constitution and I always will,” Pence added.
The new indictment is the second by federal prosecutors this year and comes after the DOJ charged Trump with 37 felony counts of mishandling classified documents, obstructing justice, and making false statements in June.
Charges were brought up regarded the storage of documents at Trump’s Florida home, Mar-a-Lago, which was raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in August of last year. Trump later appeared in a federal court in Miami and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Other charges are pending against the former president in New York, where Manhattan prosecutor Alvin Bragg indicted Trump on 34 felony counts regarding alleged payments made to pornographic performer Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 election, to allegedly purchase her silence regarding a sexual affair.