Former President Donald Trump was arrested and released Tuesday in Miami, Florida, after being officially charged with 37 counts related to the alleged mishandling of more than 100 classified documents containing national security secrets.
Trump appeared in federal court, and pleaded not guilty to the Espionage Act charges, including conspiracy to obstruct justice and willful retention of defense records.
At his initial court appearance, Trump was represented by attorney Todd Blanche, who also is representing Trump in hush-money criminal case involving Stormy Daniels in New York. In addition to Blanche, Trump is also being represented by former Florida Solicitor General Chris Kise.
Trump faces 37 federal criminal counts for removing top-secret documents from Washington, D.C., and relocating them to his Mar-a-Lago estate. Thirty-one of the counts involve mishandling national defense information and five counts related to concealing the possession of classified documents and one count of making false statements.
U.S. Magistrate Judge John Goodman presided over the arraignment. Members of the media were barred from having electronic devices in the courtroom.
While Goodman oversaw the proceedings Tuesday, the case will be presided over by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who ruled in Trump’s favor in an earlier dispute in the investigation.
Following the arraignment, Trump was set to travel back to his golf club in New Jersey where he is expected to make a public statement.
While Trump was inside the courthouse, dozens of his supporters gathered outside, peacefully waving American flags and displaying signs with messages like “Trump Was Right.”
Alina Habba, spokeswoman for Trump, said Tuesday’s proceedings were another example of anti-Trump officials in government “cultivating a two-tiered system of justice” and going after enemies.
“The people in charge of this country do not love America. They hate Donald Trump,” Habba told reporters outside the courthouse.
A similar scene unfolded in New York City in April, where Trump was indicted on 34 felony counts in relations to a “hush-money scheme,” with Trump accused of trying to cover up a potential sex scandal while he was preparing to run for president in 2016.
On Tuesday morning, Trump lashed out at U.S. Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is overseeing the federal case.
“Will Deranged Jack Smith be looking at the thousands of pages of documents that Biden had in Chinatown then, when caught, quickly sent up to Boston?” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform. He also called Smith a “lunatic” and a “psycho.”
He added: “What about the 1,850 Boxes that Biden is fighting to keep secret. How about Hillary’s 33,000 emails that she deleted and acid washed? Will he be looking at the $5,000,000 bribe that was paid to Biden but that the Justice Department is trying to hide? Much more coming on that! We are living in a Third World Country. No Borders, Rigged Elections!”
Trump and his supporters have villainized Smith. A protester outside the Florida courthouse on Tuesday carried a sign calling for Smith’s arrest.
Meanwhile, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican, said Monday she will propose a bill to defund Smith’s office and his investigation into Trump.
Smith was appointed last November by Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate Trump’s handling of classified documents that he removed from the White House and transported to his Florida residence at Mar-a-Lago.
Marcos Jimenez, former U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Florida, said harassment of Smith could get much worse. Speaking on CNN during the arraignment Tuesday, Jimenez quoted a lawyer axiom.
“If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the facts are against you, argue the law. If both the law and the facts are against you, you attack the prosecutor. But this is Trump putting that on steroids,” Jimenez said.