Former President Trump entered a not guilty plea at the federal courthouse in Washington DC at his third arraignment in just under four months.
A federal grand jury voted Tuesday to indict Trump on four criminal counts related to his actions surrounding the 2020 Presidential election and the deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol: 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. The indictment was submitted to the grand jury by the office of Special Counsel Jack Smith.
In dictating Trump’s conditions for release, the judge warned him against discussing the case with any witnesses, saying, “The defendant must not communicate about the facts of the case to individuals known to be a witness except through counsel or in the presence of counsel.”
It was the former President’s third arraignment this year—an unprecedented occurrence in U.S. history.
In April Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records and conspiracy related to his alleged role in hush money payments during the 2016 campaign season. That indictment came down in New York State court.
On June 13, Trump pleaded not guilty to 37 criminal counts handed up by a Florida grand jury in Smith’s investigation into his handling of classified documents post-Presidency. Last month the special counsel added three new charges in a superseding indictment related to alleged efforts to conceal surveillance video footage from Trump’s Florida residence, Mar-a-Lago, that had been subpoenaed by the Department of Justice.
Trump flew from his estate in Bedminster, New Jersey to DC for the proceedings. Though he was booked, the former President was not placed in handcuffs, nor did he have his mugshot taken.
However, according to the U.S. Marshals Service, Trump did have his fingerprints taken digitally and was required to give his Social Security number, date of birth and address.
According to reports, several of the federal judges of the district court filled the back row of the courtroom while Trump was being arraigned, including Chief Judge James Boasberg, Judge Amy Berman Jackson and Judge Randy Moss.
Thursday may not have been the last time that the former President faces arraignment this year—or even this month.
Security barriers have been erected around the Fulton County courthouse in Georgia, amid an investigation into interference in that state’s 2020 Presidential election, where District Attorney Fani Willis has “respectfully request[ed] that judges not schedule trials and in person hearings during the weeks beginning Monday, August 7 and Monday, August 14.”
Willis’ investigation was reportedly sparked by Trump’s phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on January 2, 2021, during which the then-President pressured his fellow Republican, who recorded the call, saying, “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.”
Trump has denied any wrongdoing in each case against him, and has claimed that he is being targeted because of politics—an assertion the Department of Justice has vehemently denied.