Donald Trump in Miami for arraignment after being charged with mishandling classified documents
The former US president is set to appear at a courthouse in Miami, Florida to face charges of mishandling classified documents
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Former US President Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty to 37 counts of mishandling classified documents and obstructing their recover during a court appearance in Miami.
Trump appeared at a court in Miami, Florida at 3pm on 13 June (local time), amid allegations that he stored classified information in a shower, a bathroom, a ballroom and a bedroom on his Mar-a-Lago estate. He is also accused of describing a Pentagon “plan of attack” to people without security clearance, and sharing a classified map.
In a total, he faces 37 federal charges relating to the mishandling of classified documents and obstructing efforts to return them. Prosecutors have claimed that Trump took around 300 classified documents to his Florida home after leaving the White House, with around 100 of these documents seized by the FBI in a raid on Mar-a-Lago in August 2022.
The former president said that he was entitled to keep the documents after leaving office. He also claimed that he had declassified them while still president, although so far has provided no evidence of this happening.
It comes after he was charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records in New York, a move which made him the first former US president to ever face criminal charges.
Despite his recent legal woes, Trump has launched his campaign for the 2024 presidency. His legal situation does not appear to have impacted polls much, with Trump currently outperforming his Republican opponents Ron DeSantis and his former vice president Mike Pence.
He held a rally in New Jersey at his golf resort after arriving back from the Miami court hearing. He used the address to his supporters to lament that he believed the indictment to be a "political persecution" and made baseless accusations that US President Joe Biden was orchestrating the "witch hunt".
Trump added that Biden will "forever be remembered as not only the most corrupt president in the history of our country, but perhaps even more importantly, the president who together with a band of his closest thugs, misfits and Marxists tried to destroy American democracy”.
The presidential hopeful also pledged to "appoint a real special prosecutor to go after the most "corrupt president in the history of the United States of America Joe Biden" if he is elected president in 2024.
Trump has also accused the indictment's lead investigator Special Counsel Jack Smith as a "Trump hater". After the indictment over the mishandling of classified documents was confirmed on 9 June, Trump labelled the investigation a "witch hunt". He posted on his social media site Truth Social: “This is indeed a DARK DAY for the United States of America. We are a Country in serious and rapid Decline, but together we will Make America Great Again!”
Police in Miami are expecting a high number of anti-Trump protesters and pro-Trump supporters to turn out as the arraignment takes place.
Miami police chief Manny Morales has said that authorities are expecting a crowd the size of "anywhere from 5,000 to 50,000". He added: "We're taking this event extremely seriously. We know that there is a potential of things taking a turn for the worse."