Trump appears in Florida courtroom to face charges in documents case


MIAMI, June – Former U.S. President Donald Trump appeared in a Miami courtroom on Tuesday to face criminal charges that he unlawfully kept national security documents when he left office and lied to officials who sought to recover them.
Trump was due to submit a plea at an arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman that was closed to cameras and live broadcasts. His former aide Walt Nauta, also charged in the case, appeared in court as well.
It was the second courtroom visit for Trump in recent months. In April, he pleaded not guilty to state charges in New York stemming from a hush-money payment to a porn star. Tuesday’s appearance in Miami was on federal charges.
Supporters wearing Make America Great Again hats and carrying American flags chanted “Miami for Trump” and “Latinos for Trump” as the motorcade paused outside the courthouse. A man could be heard chanting, “USA! USA!”
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez told reporters outside the courthouse that there had not been any security problems.
Authorities had braced for crowds of up to 50,000 people and prepared for possible violence, recalling the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Trump has repeatedly proclaimed his innocence and accuses Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration of targeting him. He called Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the prosecution, a “Trump hater” on social media on Tuesday.
Smith accuses Trump of risking national secrets by taking thousands of sensitive papers with him when he left the White House in January 2021 and storing them in a haphazard manner at his Mar-a-Lago Florida estate and his New Jersey golf club, according to a grand jury indictment released last week.
Photos included in the indictment show boxes of documents stored on a ballroom stage, in a bathroom and strewn across a storage-room floor.
The indictment alleges Trump lied to officials who tried to get them back. The indictment of a former U.S. president on federal charges is unprecedented in American history.
The indictment also alleges Trump conspired with Nauta to keep classified documents and hide them from a federal grand jury. Nauta, who has worked for Trump at the White House and at Mar-a-Lago, was due to appear with Trump.