Former US President Donald Trump pleads not guilty over alleged attempts to 'subvert' 2020 presidential election results
Thursday, August 10, 2023
Last Thursday, former US President Donald Trump entered a not guilty plea in the District of Columbia (D.C.) to four felony charges over the alleged "[pursuit] of unlawful means of discounting legitimate votes and subverting" the outcome of the 2020 US presidential election, which saw now-President Joe Biden defeat him and Trump supporters the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Magistrate Judgesaid Judge , who is assigned to preside over the case, planned to schedule a trial at an August 28 hearing; both prosecutors and Trump's attorneys were instructed to present a favored trial timeline by that date, but Upadhyaya described Chutkan as open to allowing Trump to not attend that hearing.
Thomas Windom, the head prosecutor assigned to the trial, argued: "This case will benefit from normal order, including a speedy trial."
Defense lawyersaid his side would need to analyze evidence the government must provide it through and the idea a trial could soon begin was "somewhat absurd": "These are weighty issues. Obviously, the US has had three and a half years to investigate this matter".
He added: "And all I'm going to ask, Your Honor, is the opportunity to fairly defend our client. But in order to do that, we're going to need a little time."
Upadhyaya said: "I can guarantee everybody that there will be a fair process and a fair trial in this case."
Upadhyaya warned the defendant of the conditions of his freedom, one of which being he and witnesses could not discuss the case without lawyers present: "If you fail to comply with any conditions of your release, a warrant may be issued for your arrest."
Three law enforcement personnel who resisted the Capitol attack arrived to witness the 27-minute arraignment, including Capitol Police officer Aquilino Gonell. The clashes injured Gonell, who retired; he noted to the Associated Press this was "the same court in which hundreds of rioters have been sentenced. It's the same court former President Trump is being arraigned in today for his alleged involvement before, during, and after the siege."
Other attendees included the court's chief judge,, who presided over the secret proceedings. Also attending were Judge Randy Moss and Judge , who has criticized Trump when sentencing participants in the attack.
Providing counsel for the defense were Lauro and Todd Blanche, also working for Trump in other court cases, while Trump lawyerattended in the audience. The lawyers have claimed Special Counsel infringed on Trump's freedom of speech by criminally charging him.
Trump, standing in the rain at New Jersey, declared it a "very sad day for America". He said: "This is the persecution of the person that's leading by very, very substantial numbers in the Republican [Party] primary and leading Biden by a lot [...] So if you can't beat 'em, you persecute 'em or you prosecute 'em. We can't let this happen in America." He has maintained his innocence.ahead of his flight returning him to
Asked at a campaign stop press conference in Iowa on Friday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican contender in the 2024 election, if he believed the 2024 presidential election to be "stolen", he said: "I've said many times the election is what it is [...] All those theories that were put out did not prove to be true. But what I've also said is the way you conduct a good election that people have confidence in, you don't change the rules in the middle of the game."
Prosecutors asked Chutkan to issue a protective order under which Trump could not release sensitive evidence from discovery, after he wrote on his social media websiteearlier in the day: "IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I'M COMING AFTER YOU!" They said that could be interpreted as meaning he could attempt to chill witnesses.
Trump's lawyers submitted a response Monday, conceding some documents should remain private, but "the need to protect that information does not require a blanket US Constitution's provision safeguarding free speech, they continued: "In a trial about rights, the government seeks to restrict First Amendment rights."over all documents produced by the government." Basing their argument upon the
The government responded, noting the other side's counsels had been spoken about the case on broadcast media. Chutkan later scheduled a hearing on the matter for Friday.
On Sunday, Trump declared on Truth Social: "There is no way I can get a fair trial with the judge 'assigned' to the ridiculous freedom of speech/fair elections case [...] Everybody knows this and so does she! We will be immediately asking for recusal of this judge on very powerful grounds and likewise for venue change, out [of] D.C." He had claimed West Virginia was "politically unbiased" in contrast to D.C.
A federal grand jury on August 1 indicted Trump, accusing him of US Congress' evaluation and certification of the validity of the results., conspiracy to , obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and . It charged he committed such to undermine the
This indictment followed one in New York City, on state-level charges of to conceal hush money payments, the first indictment of a US president, and another federal indictment in Miami, Florida, over alleged purposeful retention of classified documents.
Georgia has been investigating Trump and supporters for alleged attempts to influence the 2020 election results there.,
Unlike an impeachment, a conviction unrelated to insurrection would not have legal effects on Trump's campaign.
The indictment said Trump exhausted his legal avenues to affect the election results, including seeking relief from courts and requesting authorities perform recounts and audits of votes, yet participated in a conspiracy to perpetuate the claim he won the election. He called the election "crooked" before flying to D.C. for the arraignment on social media.
Aware his statements were false as Vice President Mike Pence and other advisors and appointees informed him, the indictment charged, "the defendant repeated and widely disseminated them anyway — to make his knowingly false claims appear legitimate, to create an intense national atmosphere of mistrust and anger, and to erode public faith in the administration of the election."
The indictment described Trump trying to persuade state administrators to alter election results, unsuccessfully attempting to convince Pence he could prevent Congress from counting the votes of, who states appointed consistent with the local popular vote, and, with unnamed and unindicted accomplices, assembling groups of "fraudulent electors" to vote for him and send their votes for Congress to count.
Trump and accomplices, the grand jury continued, disseminated these statements in a rally on January 6, after which some attendees and others. Congress reconvened within hours, and Pence presided over the certification of the results.
Prosecutor Jack Smith on August 1 called it "an unprecedented assault on the seat of American democracy [...] It was fueled by lies, lies by the defendant".
A bipartisan US House of Representatives select committee reported on the prelude to the Capitol attack after a months-long investigation, determining authorities should charge Trump with aiding an insurrection, obstructing an official proceeding, and other crimes. In 2021, Chutkan ordered Trump's presidential records be available to the committee, against his wishes; the grand jury mentioned those records in August 1's indictment. Hours before the arraignment hearing, he denounced Chutkan as "unfair" on social media.
- "Federal grand jury indicts former US President Donald Trump in classified documents inquiry" — Wikinews, June 11, 2023
- "Former US President Donald Trump pleads not guilty to 34 felony charges in Manhattan" — Wikinews, April 10, 2023
- "Manhattan grand jury indicts former United States President Donald Trump" — Wikinews, April 2, 2023
- "US federal agency announces plans to begin presidential transition process following Trump election loss" — Wikinews, November 26, 2020
- "Joe Biden projected US president-elect" — Wikinews, November 7, 2020
- Sarah N. Lynch. "US judge sets hearing on evidence in Trump's 2020 election case" — , August 8, 2023
- Jacqueline Thomsen. "Trump argues proposed limits on 2020 election case evidence violate free speech" — , August 7, 2023
- Ken Tran, Josh Meyer. "Donald Trump calls for judge's recusal, venue change in his 2020 election case" — , August 6, 2023
- Allan Smith, Alec Hernández, Henry J. Gomez. "DeSantis says election fraud theories promoted by Trump 'did not prove to be true'" — , August 4, 2023
- Michael Kunzelman, Eric Tucker, Nomaan Merchant. "Trump pleads not guilty to federal charges that he tried to overturn the 2020 election" — , August 3, 2023
- Kyle Cheney, Betsy Woodruff Swan. "Trump pleads not guilty to charges that he conspired to overturn 2020 election" — , August 3, 2023
- "After his hearing in federal court, Trump calls it a 'very sad day for America.' Follow live updates" — , August 3, 2023
- "Grand jury charges Trump in 2020 election probe: Highlights" — , August 1, 2023