Trump’s legal team to “vigorously” defend him; former president slams the charges as “persecution of a political opponent”
On Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023, former President Donald Trump appeared before US Magistrate Judge Moxila Upadhyaya at the federal courthouse in Washington, pleading not guilty to charges of conspiring to obstruct the 2020 presidential election and interfering with voting rights. His legal team is preparing to ‘vigorously’ defend him.
This artist sketch depicts former President Donald Trump, right, conferring with defense lawyer Todd Blanche, left, during his appearance at the Federal Courthouse in Washington.
- Trump will remain free as the case progresses but is prohibited from communicating with witnesses except through his lawyers.
- During the 30-minute hearing, Trump made a point of stating his not guilty plea himself.
- The former president faces his third criminal case; the Fulton County district attorney in Georgia may pursue a fourth indictment related to election interference.
- A hearing before US District Judge Tanya Chutkan is set for Aug. 28, and Trump’s presence is not required.
Legal Team’s Strategy
John Lauro, part of Trump’s legal team, expressed concerns about the case’s complexity and intends to seek a delay in the proceedings. He deems a speedy trial “somewhat absurd.”
“All we would ask your honor is the opportunity to fairly defend our client, but in order to do that, we’re going to need a little time,” Lauro said.
Prosecutor Thomas Windom assured that the government would turn over a “substantial volume” of evidence and expected “normal order” in the process. Judge Upadhyaya guaranteed a “fair” process and trial.
“Sad Day for America”
After the hearing, Trump addressed reporters at the Washington airport, calling the charges a “persecution of a political opponent” and branding the day a “very sad day for America”. The former president, who is also the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, expressed his discontentment before boarding his airplane following the brief court hearing in the US capital.
- Not guilty plea: Trump pleads not guilty to election obstruction and interference charges.
- Legal defense: Trump’s legal team is prepared to “vigorously” defend him and may seek a delay due to the case’s complexity.
- Upcoming hearing: A hearing is set for Aug. 28, with prosecutors and defense lawyers to propose schedules.
- Trump’s statement: The former president calls the charges a political persecution and a sad day for America.