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Trump Pleads Not Guilty to Attempting to Overturn the 2020 Elections


Former President Donald Trump waves from his motorcade as he leaves the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Federal Courthouse, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023, in Washington.

Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty to trying to overturn the results of his 2020 presidential election loss, answering for the first time to federal charges that accuse him of orchestrating a brazen and ultimately failed attempt to block the peaceful transfer of presidential power.

The former president pleaded not guilty Thursday to trying to overturn the results of his 2020 presidential election loss, in the days before Jan. 6, 2021, when supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in a violent and bloody clash with law enforcement.

Trump appeared before a magistrate judge in Washington’s federal courthouse two days after Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith charged him with four felony counts related to his efforts to undo his presidential election loss, including conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding. The charges could lead to a years-long prison sentence in the event of a conviction.

Trump was the only person charged in the case, though prosecutors referenced six unnamed co-conspirators, mostly lawyers, they say he plotted with, including in a scheme to enlist fake electors in seven battleground states won by Biden to submit false certificates to the federal government.

The indictment chronicles how Trump and his Republican allies, in what Smith described as an attack on a “bedrock function of the U.S. government,” repeatedly lied about the results in the two months after he lost the election and pressured his vice president, Mike Pence, and state election officials to take action to help him cling to power.

Ahead of Thursday’s proceedings, security was heightened in the area surrounding the courthouse.

A mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as members of Congress met to certify the election results.

Trump has denied wrongdoing. Since leaving office, he has repeatedly asserted that the 2020 election was fraudulent and cast the investigations against him as politically motivated. He remains a leading candidate for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election.

Trump has already pleaded not guilty in two other criminal cases which are set for trial next year.

He was charged in another federal court with unlawfully retaining classified information at his Florida estate and refusing government demands that he return documents.

Trump was also charged in the state of New York with falsifying business records in connection with a hush money payment made to a porn actor during the 2016 presidential campaign.

And prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, are expected in coming weeks to announce charging decisions in an investigation into efforts to subvert election results in that state.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.