By Editor-June 14th, 2023.
Former president Donald J. Trump was at the federal court building in Miami yesterday for his arraignment in the classified documents case in which he is accused of stealing various documents containing US government secrets and refusing to return them.
Federal prosecutors have accused him of wilfully withholding classified documents and obstructing justice, charging him with 37 federal counts including 31 violations of the Espionage Act.
Trump did not speak on his own behalf in court, but one of his lawyers pleaded not guilty to all charges on his behalf, and was released on bond on the condition that he would not discuss the case with a list of witnesses or with his co-defendant Walt Nauta, a former navy cook, who is now Trump’s personal assistant.
Nauta was also scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday. His arraignment, however, was postponed by Judge Jonathan Goodman due to a requirement that defendants have local counsel.
The former president was released on his own recognizance and did not have to post bail, hand in his passport, or the keys to his private jet. He was however digitally fingerprinted, before he was turned loose.
Later in the day in New Jersey, he maintained the defiant message that he had practiced at previous campaign events, including over the weekend after the indictment was unsealed.
He accused President Joe Biden of orchestrating the federal charges against him, calling them a “political persecution”. Trump said Biden “will forever be remembered as not only the most corrupt president in the history of our country, but perhaps even more importantly, the president who together with a band of his closest thugs, misfits and Marxists tried to destroy American democracy”.
Trump also called Jack Smith, the special counsel who brought federal charges against him, “deranged” and a “thug”.
“I will appoint a real special prosecutor to go after the most corrupt president in the history of the United States of America Joe Biden,” Trump promised cheering supporters nonetheless. “I will totally obliterate the deep state.”
Trump complained about charges over “possessing my own presidential papers, which just about every other president has done”.
The government prosecution service maintains that the classified documents are not Trump’s own and that the Presidential Records Act stipulates that all official documents belong to the federal government and that no president in recent history has refused to return hoards of classified documents.
Sources: BBC, AP News, The Guardian, CNN.