Trump was indicted last week on 37 counts related to his alleged mishandling of the nation’s secrets.
A stone-faced former President Donald Trump entered a not guilty plea Tuesday to charges he lied and schemed to hold on to sensitive national security material that he was supposed to have surrendered when he left the White House.
Trump, 76, was indicted last week on 37 federal felony counts, including willful retention of national defense information, making false statements and representations, and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
In court, Trump, wearing a blue suit and red tie, sat silently with his hands crossed and had a not guilty plea entered by his attorney during the brief proceeding before Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman.
“We most certainly enter a plea of not guilty,” Trump lawyer Todd Blanche told the judge.
Special counsel Jack Smith, whose office brought the case, was in court for the proceeding, seated in the front row.
Goodman did not put any travel restrictions on Trump, who’s campaigning for president, or ask him to surrender his passport. Prosecutors had not asked for either restriction. The judge did on his own bar Trump from discussing the case with any witnesses identified on a list to be compiled by government lawyers.
Trump was seated at the same table as his co-defendant in the case, aide Walt Nauta. Nauta, 40, did not enter a plea because he does not yet have a local attorney, and was given a June 27 return date.
The bombshell case is the first time in U.S. history that a former president has been charged with federal crimes — a test of the criminal justice system he once presided over in a politically fraught prosecution.
Trump traveled to New Jersey after his arraignment and delivered a speech at his Bedminster golf club before a crowd of supporters. He blamed the prosecution on his political standing.
“When you’re allowed to arrest your leading political opponent, we no longer have a democracy,” Trump said.
Trump was arraigned once before, in the New York case involving his hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels. But unlike the Manhattan court, the federal magistrate in Miami prohibited cameras inside the building — leaving the public to watch only the small gathering of supporters outside.
Trump left the courthouse just before 4 p.m. ET, and stopped at the popular Cuban restaurant Versailles, where the crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to him. Trump turns 77 on Wednesday.
“Thank you Miami. Such a warm welcome on such a SAD DAY for our Country!” Trump posted on Truth Social as he was headed toward the airport.
The former president, who had struggled to find a local attorney after two members of his legal team resigned Friday, was represented in his initial appearance by Blanche and Chris Kise, Florida’s former solicitor general and an ally of Gov. Ron DeSantis, Trump’s main 2024 GOP rival, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation.