Former US President Donald Trump has denied dozens of criminal counts of willfully mishandling US government secrets and scheming to prevent their return, in a historic first appearance on Tuesday in Federal Court.
It was the former president’s second arraignment as he battles a deluge of legal threats, coming just 10 weeks after he was charged with a string of felonies in Manhattan over hush money payments to a adult film star.
Last August, President Trump appeared before a judge in Miami to be formally presented with 37 charges brought by the government following a special counsel probe which opened after an FBI raid of his Florida mansion.
His attorney told the hearing they would enter a plea of ‘not guilty’.
The former US President is accused of, among other offenses, violating the Espionage Act by refusing to hand over national security secrets he took to his Mar-a-Lago resort after he left office. According to the FBI, documents were stashed in storage rooms, a bathroom, Trump’s bedroom, and a ballroom accessible by visitors and staff. The indictment alleges that after a subpoena was issued for the return of any classified material, President Trump suggested his lawyers ignore it or just say “we don’t have anything here”.