Former president Donald Trump appeared in Miami on Tuesday for his arraignment in the case brought against him by Special Counsel Jack Smith, who was appointed by Vice President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice. In federal court, Trump’s counsel entered a “not guilty” plea on his behalf.
The federal magistrate granted Trump pretrial release, with the restriction that he cannot communicate with witnesses. Smith has accused Trump on 37 occasions of unlawfully managing classified documents. Trump, who will compete against President Joe Biden in the 2016 presidential election, could spend years in prison if he is proven guilty of all charges.
There were no cameras, phones, or other electronic devices allowed in the Miami courthouse where Judge Goodman presided over Trump’s arraignment on Tuesday, but reporters were able to report on what they saw.
“However, there was no apparent eye contact between Trump and Smith during the day’s proceedings. Trump sat with his arms folded most of the time, talking with his lawyers occasionally. But Trump did not speak and Magistrate Judge Goodman never addressed him directly,” Fox News reported.
“Judge Goodman asked both sides if they agreed to waive the reading of the indictment, to which they agreed, so the matter got to Trump’s arraignment fairly quickly. Most of the arguments from both sides were about Trump’s contact with potential witnesses, and the defense pointed out that they don’t even have a full list of witnesses yet,” the outlet added.
CNN’s Evan Perez, who was also present in the courtroom, reported that Trump did not appear thrilled to be there.
“He had a very serious look on his face, periodically had his arms folded,” Perez said. “The former president entered the room probably about 30 or 40 minutes before the judge. We couldn’t see exactly when he entered the room because the televisions of the room that we were in were not turned on immediately, but we saw, you know, the lawyers take their seats and the former president sort of twiddling his thumbs while he waited for proceedings to take his place.”
At least twice, according to the indictment, Trump allegedly disclosed classified information to individuals who lacked the required security clearances. According to the Department of Justice, both incidents occurred at Trump’s New Jersey golf club.
CNN received information regarding one of the incidents reported.
According to the network, federal prosecutors “obtained an audio recording of a summer 2021 meeting in which former President Donald Trump acknowledges he held onto a classified Pentagon document about a potential attack on Iran, multiple sources told CNN, undercutting his argument that he declassified everything.”
Trump stated on Thursday that he had been indicted by the US Department of Justice for handling classified materials.
The charges “include willful retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice, withholding a document or record, corruptly concealing a document or record, concealing a document in a federal investigation, a scheme to conceal, and false statements and representations,” ABC News reported.
“Maximum sentences for the respective charges, per their statutes, range from five up to 20 years, although any eventual sentence should Trump be convicted would likely be much lower,” the outlet added.
In an interview conducted on Monday, one of Trump’s attorneys criticized Joe Biden’s Justice Department and asserted that her client was “100%” permitted to possess the classified information for which he has been charged.
According to Christina Bobb, who told Newsmax that Trump’s authorization stems from the Presidential Records Act, President Joe Biden and Vice President Mike Pence, who both had classified materials in their possession but are not covered by the same act because they are vice presidents, were treated better by the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“Donald Trump was 100% authorized to keep everything he kept. And it was actually the Department of Justice that actually had to return materials because they took things they were not allowed to possess and had to return them,” Bobb noted further.
“President Trump had every right to have possession of those documents. And the only statute that applies to Donald Trump on this is the Presidential Records Act 44 U.S.C. Section 2203 Alpha, which specifically says the president and only the president is the one who has authority to make this call,” she told Newsmax.
“I think their case is dead on arrival,” she predicted.