Trump pleads not guilty to federal charges in special counsel probe

Washington — Former President Donald Trump appeared in a federal courtroom Thursday for his arraignment on four felony charges accusing him of trying to overturn the 2020 election results, pleading not guilty in the latest case brought by special counsel Jack Smith.

Trump appeared before a magistrate judge in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to enter his plea. While cameras were not allowed in the courtroom, CBS News has live coverage from reporters on the scene and analysis of all the developments in the case.

The former president traveled from New Jersey in his private plane for the hearing. His motorcade made its way into D.C., cutting through downtown traffic on its way to the courthouse near the Capitol.

A federal grand jury hearing evidence in Smith’s investigation approved a historic indictment on Tuesday charging Trump with four felony counts: 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 45-page charging document accuses Trump and six co-conspirators of pursuing several schemes to block the transfer of power to Joe Biden after Trump lost the 2020 election, culminating in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The indictment alleges Trump knew his claims of widespread voter fraud were false but “repeated and widely disseminated them anyway — to make his knowingly false claims appear legitimate, create an intense national atmosphere of mistrust and anger, and erode public faith in the administration of the election.”

Trump has denounced Smith’s probe as politically motivated and denies any wrongdoing.

This is Trump’s third arraignment on criminal charges in four months. In April, he was booked and processed in New York on state charges related to an alleged “hush money” payment to an adult film star in 2016. In June, he appeared in court in Miami to face federal charges in Smith’s parallel investigation into his handling of classified documents found at his Mar-a-Lago resort. He pleaded not guilty in those cases, as well.

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