The former president of the United States of America, Donald Trump, has pleaded not guilty to 37 charges related to the alleged mishandling of classified documents.
The embattled ex-president had earlier surrendered himself at a Federal Court in Miami, Florida for allegedly keeping and hiding classified documents.
Trump’s lawyers asked for a jury trial during the former president’s arraignment on Tuesday at the federal courthouse in Miami.
“We most certainly enter a plea of not guilty,” Trump attorney Todd Blanche told the judge.
Trump who reportedly arrived at the court on Tuesday was charged with retaining strategic national security documents and obstructing efforts by security agents to retrieve them from him according to a CBS report.
Deputy Marshals booked the former president and took electronic copies of his fingerprints during Tuesday’s proceedings. They did not take a mugshot of Trump since he is easily recognisable. The booking process took about 10 minutes according to a CNN report.
Trump’s aide and co-defendant, Walt Nauta was also arrested, fingerprinted, and processed. The criminal charges in the Justice Department’s classified documents case escalate the legal jeopardy surrounding the 2024 GOP front-runner.
Tuesday’s hearing was procedural in nature. Trump will enter a plea, there will be a discussion of the conditions of his pretrial release, and it is possible that potential restrictions around Trump’s conduct, as the case moves forward, are brought up.
Meanwhile, dozens of supporters waving flags gathered on a street by the Miami court where Trump surrendered to authorities and was processed.
They waved flags and were perhaps hoping to catch a glimpse of the former president. The vehicle carrying Trump used an underground entrance and he was not seen entering the court.
White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, has again said President Joe Biden was not involved in the federal indictment of Trump.
Asked if Biden, whose attorney general, Merrick Garland, was appointed the special counsel in the investigation, influenced the indictment, she said, “Not at all. He was not involved. The president has been very clear: The Department of Justice is independent. He wants to restore the independence of the Department of Justice. And that is what you have seen.”