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Trump Pleads Not Guilty in Miami Court

Leo Timm
Leo Timm covers China-related news, culture, and history. Follow him on Twitter at @kunlunpeaks
Published: June 14, 2023
Former U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks outside the club house at the Trump National Golf Club on June 13, 2023 in Bedminster, New Jersey. Earlier in the day, Trump was arraigned in federal court in Miami on 37 felony charges, including illegally retaining defense secrets and obstructing the government’s efforts to reclaim the classified documents. (Image: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States, arrived at a federal courthouse in Miami, Florida for his arraignment in the afternoon of June 13, where he has plead not guilty to felony charges.

Showing up around an hour before his scheduled appearance, Trump decried the accusations against him — he is charged with 37 felonies for allegedly mishandling classified government documents — on his social media site Truth Social.

“One of the saddest days in the history of our country,” Trump wrote on the way to court. “We are a nation in decline!!!”

Trump appeared before Duty Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman. He was accompanied by attorneys Todd Blanche, a former federal prosecutor, and Christopher Kise.

At court, Trump was formally placed under arrest, and the arraignment took a little over half an hour.

According to the Department of Justice’s June 8 indictment, Trump retained 31 government documents, some of which were classified as top secret, in contravention of the law. The investigation into the former president began in 2022.

Political ramifications

The court case against Trump is significant not just because he is a former president, but also given that he is by far in the lead for the Republican party primaries, with more than 50 percent of Republican voters favoring him to run for president in 2024.

If convicted, the 77-year-old real estate mogul and TV personality could face up to 20 years in prison.

Trump and his supporters hold that he is innocent, and that the case is a politically motivated attack.

In a recent episode of his independent news show, popular conservative commentator Tucker Carlson suggested that the charges of mishandling secret documents was likely something not unique to Trump, but simply ignored when it was done by other former presidents and elected officials.

President Joe Biden, for instance, retained classified documents in his private possession after serving as a U.S. Senator, which were surrendered once discovered. ““Biden didn’t have any authority and he had no right to possess those documents,” Trump said. “Yet nothing happened to ‘Crooked Joe,’” Trump said at a Republican convention on June 10.

The DOJ holds that some of the documents Trump allegedly mishandled related to America’s military capabilities, and nuclear programs, as well as “potential vulnerabilities of the United States and its allies to military attack; and plans for possible retaliation in response to a foreign attack.”

Trump has carried on with his re-election bid despite the case against him, while accusing incumbent president Joe Biden of using the issue for his own gain.

“Biden is trying to jail his leading political opponent, just like they do in Stalinist Russia or communist China,” Trump told the audience of 3,000 at the GOP convention in Columbus, Georgia.