[Fox News] Trump pleads ‘not guilty’ to charges stemming from special counsel’s Jan. 6 probe

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WASHINGTON D.C.–Former President Donald Trump on Thursday pleaded ‘not guilty’ in federal court to all four federal charges stemming from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into 2020 election interference and the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, sources familiar said. 

Trump, the 2024 GOP front-runner, is charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights.

Trump traveled from his resort in Bedminster, N.J., Thursday to Washington D.C. His first court appearance took place at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. 

TRUMP INDICTED ON CHARGES OUT OF SPECIAL COUNSEL PROBE INTO JAN 6

The indictment comes out of Smith’s investigation into whether Trump or other officials and entities interfered with the peaceful transfer of power following the 2020 presidential election, including the certification of the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6, 2021.

US Magistrate Judge Moxila Upadhaya presided over Thursday’s proceedings. Judge Tanya Chutkan will preside over the trial. Chutkan, a former assistant public defender before her appointment to the bench by President Barack Obama, has handled several cases involving individuals who entered the Capitol on January 6.

In the courtroom, the judge laid out how the proceeding would go and asked that Trump be seated closer to a microphone so that he could answer her questions. She first asked his name and age.

“Trump. “Donald J. Trump – John…Seven Seven – seventy-seven”

The judge then advised Trump of the counts of the indictment that he was facing and the potential penalties associated with being convicted on the counts. The judge also read Trump his rights.

Trump was asked how he would plea to the four counts against him. He responded succinctly. “not guilty.” Trump was then advised of the conditions of release.

Trump posted to his Truth Social late Wednesday saying that the case “will hopefully be moved to an impartial Venue, such as the politically unbiased nearby State of West Virginia!” 

“IMPOSSIBLE to get a fair trial in Washington, D.C., which is over 95% anti-Trump, & for which I have called for a Federal TAKEOVER in order to bring our Capital back to Greatness,” Trump posted. “It is now a high crime embarrassment to our Nation and, indeed, the World. This Indictment is all about Election Interference!!!” 

On Jan. 6, 2021, pro-Trump rioters breached the U.S. Capitol during a joint session of Congress to certify the Electoral College results in favor of President Biden.

The House of Representatives drafted articles of impeachment against him on a charge of inciting an insurrection for the Jan. 6 Capitol riot — making him the first and only president in history to be impeached, and ultimately acquitted, twice. 

This is the second federal indictment the former president faces out of Smith’s investigation. Trump, who leads the 2024 GOP presidential primary field, has already pleaded not guilty in federal court in the Southern District of Florida to 37 counts related to his alleged improper retention of classified records from his presidency.

SPECIAL COUNSEL JACK SMITH SAYS JAN 6 ‘FUELED BY LIES’ FROM TRUMP, PRAISES ‘HEROES’ WHO DEFENDED CAPITOL

Those charges include willful retention of national defense information, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and false statements. Trump was charged with an additional three counts as part of a superseding indictment out of that probe last week.

Trump is the first former president in U.S. history to face federal criminal charges. 

The former president posted again to his Truth Social Thursday morning, accusing the Biden administration of bringing criminal charges against him to drain funds from his 2024 presidential campaign. 

“Look, it’s not my fault that my political opponent in the Democrat Party, Crooked Joe Biden, has told his Attorney General to charge the leading (by far!) Republican Nominee & former President of the United States, me, with as many crimes as can be concocted so that he is forced to spend large amounts of time & money to defend himself,” Trump said. “The Dems don’t want to run against me or they would not be doing this unprecedented weaponization of “Justice.” BUT SOON, IN 2024, IT WILL BE OUR TURN. MAGA!”

Campaign finance documents show Trump, the Republican presidential front-runner, burned through at least $42.8 million this year, much of it used to cover costs related to his mounting legal peril. The former president has $31.8 million cash on hand.

Trump has also pleaded not guilty to 34 counts in New York in April stemming from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s investigation. Trump is accused of falsifying business records related to hush-money payments made during the 2016 campaign.

Nicholas Kalman and Jake Gibson contributed to this story.

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