On June 13, Donald Trump was arrested and booked for mishandling classified documents at a federal courthouse in Miami. The New York Times reported that he was arraigned in front of magistrate judge Jonathan Goodman.
On June 8, an indictment was filed accusing the former president of attempting to conceal and deceitfully handling classified documents. Trump entered a plea of “not guilty” to the 37 charges related to the documents brought by special counsel Jack Smith.
Trump, who is currently bidding to return to the White House, became the first former president to face federal criminal charges. Dressed in a navy blue suit, white shirt, and red tie, Trump pleaded not guilty to all 37 charges against him. Trump’s attorney, Todd Blanche, entered the plea on his behalf before the federal magistrate.
According to prosecutors, sensitive documents pertaining to nuclear programs and military attack plans were allegedly kept by Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort. The indictment charged him with 31 counts of violating the Espionage Act, which carry prison sentences of up to 10 years, as well as additional counts such as conspiracy to obstruct justice, withholding a document or record, corruptly concealing a document or record, concealing a document in a federal investigation, scheme to conceal, and false statements and representations. The remaining charges carry maximum terms of up to 20 years.
Before the arraignment, Trump was taken into custody and had his fingerprints recorded, while his mug shot was not required, according to court officials. Trump is represented by attorneys Todd Blanche and Chris Kise, although he is reportedly exploring other options to hire counsel from Florida.
US Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman is currently overseeing the arraignment. US District Judge Aileen Cannon, who Trump appointed, will be in charge of the case from now on unless there is a conflict that leads to her disqualification.
In a court order on Monday night, a federal judge ruled that the media would not be permitted to have electronic devices inside the courthouse during the proceedings. After the hearing, Trump returned to his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club, where he will deliver remarks in the evening.
Outside the Miami Courthouse, around two dozen “Blacks for Trump” supporters, including Maurice Symonette, also known as “Michael the Black Man,” gathered to protest against the indictment. During the demonstration, Symonette, a regular at Trump rallies and a former member of the Nation of Yahweh criticized the indictment as “fake” and “filled with fluff.” This demonstration marked the largest gathering thus far, with one supporter dressed in royal regalia waving a Trump-DeSantis sign for over an hour.
Miami Police Chief Manny Morales stated that the city is preparing for potentially thousands of protesters at the courthouse and has been coordinating with state and federal partners to ensure peace and order and protect demonstrators’ First Amendment rights.