Former President Donald Trump is set to enter a plea of not guilty in federal court Thursday afternoon, facing charges stemming from special counsel Jack Smith's investigation into Trump's alleged attempts to overturn the nation's 2020 election results.
Trump arrived at Reagan National Airport just outside Washington, D.C. at 3 p.m., potentially signaling the start of a dramatic conclusion to the legal saga that has gone on for months. Courtroom proceedings are scheduled to commence at 4 p.m., and cameras are not allowed in for the arraignment. However, CBS News has reporters on the scene for live coverage of the event.
This marks the third indictment the former president is facing since April. This one, Smith's historic 45-page indictment, contains four felonies: 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.
The charges have been brought due to Trump's lawsuit-filled effort to challenge the 2020 election results and ultimately disrupt the peaceful transition of power. The document specifically notes Trump's phrases about "stats and evidence" and the "big landslide victory" -- both claims he has stated numerous times and which have been proven wrong.
"Trump knew his claims were false but repeated and widely disseminated them anyway," the indictment says. "He used them to make his knowingly false claims appear legitimate, create an intense atmosphere of mistrust and anger, and erode public faith in the administration of the election."
The case has drawn both criticism and support from those who fall on different sides of the political aisle. Trump has incessantly stated his innocence and denounced the prosecution as politically motivated. As the proceedings continue, the Trump defense team has decried the charges as inappropriate, citing a "lack of evidence" for the alleged charges and "overreaching" by the special counsel.
It is expected that Trump will plead not guilty to the charges Thursday afternoon. The trial is scheduled to begin June 21 at the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. For now, Trump will stand before Judge Amy Berman Jackson, whose history with the former president includes presiding over two prior cases and sentencing Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former adviser Roger Stone.
Trump supporter awaiting President ahead of DC arraignment leaves reporter in STUNNED silence with defense of Trump:
"The only way to save America is Donald Trump… They’ve been after this man since he came down the escalator 8 years ago.”
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) August 3, 2023