Trump pleads not guilty to federal charges related to 2020 election


Donald Trump pleaded not guilty on Thursday to trying to overturn the results of his 2020 election loss, answering for the first time to federal charges that accuse him of orchestrating a brazen and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to block the peaceful transfer of presidential power.
Trump appeared before a magistrate judge in Washington’s federal courthouse two days after being indicted on four felony counts by Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith. In a criminal case seen as the most historically consequential of the three that he faces, Trump stands accused of trying to subvert the will of voters and obstruct the certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory before January 6, 2021, when a mob of supporters stormed the US Capitol in a violent clash with law enforcement.
Trump, the 2024 Republican presidential primary front-runner, sat stern-faced with his hands folded, shaking his head at times as he conferred with an attorney and occasionally glancing around the courtroom as his court appearance began. He stood up to enter his “not guilty” plea, answered perfunctory questions from the judge and thanked her at the conclusion of the arraignment.
His appearance on Thursday unfolded — as will the rest of the case — in a downtown courthouse in clear view of the Capitol and in a building where more than 1,000 of the Capitol rioters have been charged.
The indictment charges Trump with four felony counts related to his efforts to undo his presidential election loss, including conspiracy to defraud the US government and conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding. The charges could lead to a yearslong prison sentence in the event of a conviction.
Smith himself was in the courtroom and sat in the front row behind the prosecutors handling the case. Three police officers who defended the Capitol that day were also seen entering the courthouse.
This is the third criminal case brought against Trump in less than six months. He was charged in New York with falsifying business records in connection with a hush money payment to a porn actor during the 2016 presidential campaign.