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Trump pleads not guilty to 37 federal counts during arraignment

Posted at 12:04 PM, Jun 13, 2023

MIAMI — Former President Donald Trump answered to charges he mishandled classified documents at an arraignment Tuesday afternoon at a federal courthouse in Miami.

Trump entered a not guilty plea and had his arms folded during the hearing.

Jack Smith, the special counsel appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland to handle Trump-related investigations, sat in the front row of the Miami courtroom.

About an hour before the arraignment, officials booked Trump and co-defendant Walt Nauta. Trump was ordered not to speak to Nauta about the case by the judge.

Nauta serves as a personal assistant to Trump.

No bond restrictions were placed on Trump, nor was a mugshot taken of the former president. Officials said Trump is not considered a flight risk, and is free to travel as he awaits trial.

Last week, Trump became the first former president to be indicted by a federal grand jury. He faces 37 felony counts for allegedly mishandling classified documents, among other charges. Trump has not denied having the documents but claims he is being unfairly singled out. Mike Pence and Joe Biden both found they were in possession of classified documents from their respective vice presidential tenures, but both have maintained they have cooperated with authorities.

After the hearing, Trump is expected to address supporters Tuesday evening from his New Jersey resort as he continues campaigning for the Republican Party's 2024 presidential nomination.

An actual trial likely would not begin for some time, possibly in the heat of the 2024 election.