Live Updates: Donald Trump's Legal Proceedings in Washington, D.C. - Arrest and Arraignment

Former President Donald Trump made his way to the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., just before 3:30 p.m. on Thursday. He is facing charges related to alleged attempts to influence the 2020 election, marking his third court arraignment within a span of four months.

Appearing somber, Trump entered the courtroom around 4 p.m., dressed in a navy blue suit, red tie, and white shirt. Positioned between his attorneys, Todd Blanche and John Lauro, he sat with folded hands on the table in front of him.

During the proceedings, Trump and his legal team engaged in quiet discussions while special counsel Jack Smith, leading the indictment, was approximately 15 feet away. A few glances were exchanged between Trump and Smith during the hearing.

The actual proceedings commenced over 30 minutes after Trump took his seat in the courtroom. When the criminal case was read, he visibly shook his head in disagreement.

In anticipation of his court appearance, the former president voiced a desire to relocate the trial from the heavily Democratic jurisdiction of Washington, D.C., to a more Republican-friendly location like West Virginia. Trump shared his thoughts on his Truth Social website, stating that the indictment revolves around alleged election interference.

As former President Donald Trump arrived at the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse in Washington, D.C., to face arraignment for his alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, a poignant symbol greeted him inside the courthouse. A portrait of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris adorned the walls, serving as a silent reminder of the election’s outcome.

Despite the presence of President Biden’s portrait, Trump has persisted in repeating false claims about the election being stolen from him. Just hours before his arrival at the courthouse, he posted such assertions on his Truth Social platform.

The courtroom’s atmosphere was laden with significance as Trump faced the legal consequences of his actions, while the portrait of his electoral opponent stood as a subtle testament to the democratic process and the election’s verifiable outcome.

Donald Trump, the former president, was taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Service, and his fingerprints were digitally recorded as part of the booking process. This occurred at the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse in downtown Washington during his initial court appearance in connection with the alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Although Trump underwent fingerprinting, he was not required to undergo a mug shot as part of the booking procedure, a practice he also avoided during his previous arraignments in New York state court and Miami federal court.

After the booking, Trump will be escorted to the courtroom for his arraignment. Entering the courtroom, he appeared solemn, dressed in a navy blue suit, a red tie, and a white shirt. Security closely monitored the room as he was led to his seat, and spectators watched from the back of the courtroom.

Magistrate Judge Moxila Upadhyaya presides over Trump’s arraignment, marking the next phase in the legal proceedings related to the allegations concerning the 2020 election.

Understanding Arraignment:
An arraignment is a formal proceeding where an accused defendant is presented before a judge, and the specific charges against them are read aloud. It serves as the defendant’s initial appearance before the court, during which they are informed about the nature of the charges they are facing.

Trump’s Expected Plea:
During his appearance on Thursday, Donald Trump will be asked to enter a plea to the official charges. Based on his previous responses in similar cases, it is anticipated that the former president will plead not guilty.

Bail Determination:
The judge presiding over the arraignment will then determine whether bail is necessary. They have the discretion to set bail, or in some cases, release the defendant without bail, allowing them to remain out of custody during the ongoing legal proceedings.

The Setting of the Arraignment:
Trump’s arraignment is scheduled to take place at the Elijah Barrett Prettyman Courthouse, a location with significant historical importance. The courthouse has witnessed momentous events such as the Watergate trials and was involved in parts of the Iran-Contra affair.

The Watergate trials involved seven individuals, including former White House aides, and led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation. Additionally, the courthouse was a focal point for the Iran-Contra affair trials, which exposed secret and illegal arms sales orchestrated by officials from President Ronald Reagan’s administration during the 1980s.

Originally constructed in the mid-1900s in Washington D.C.’s Judiciary Square, the courthouse was later named in 1997 in honor of a chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Trump Surrenders as Demonstrators Gather at Courthouse
Amidst a gathering of both anti-Trump protesters and Trump supporters outside the courthouse, the former president, Donald Trump, made his appearance. Demonstrators from both sides exchanged heated words, with Trump supporters using megaphones to voice their support while some protesters chanted for him to be locked up.

As part of the standard arraignment process, Trump underwent a formal arrest, similar to previous incidents in New York and Florida, where he faced charges related to hush money and classified documents.

However, Trump’s legal troubles are not limited to those incidents, as a state grand jury in Atlanta is also considering the possibility of indicting and arresting him for his alleged efforts to overturn the election results in Georgia.

Despite these developments, Trump is not currently in jail and is expected to leave the courthouse after his arraignment. Once he enters a plea to the charges, the judge will determine whether bail is necessary. It is possible that the judge may choose to set no bail, allowing Trump to be released without serving time in jail, similar to his previous indictments.

What does “indicted” mean?
An indictment is a formal legal document used when there is a belief that a person has committed a crime. It outlines the specific charges against the individual and must be filed before the case can proceed in court, according to David Weinstein, a former federal and state prosecutor.

To obtain an indictment, a grand jury must conclude that there is sufficient evidence, based on the testimony presented, to move forward with charging the person. This finding means that it is “more likely than not” that the individual committed the alleged crime, as explained by Weinstein. In federal courts, all cases follow the process of indictment.

Trump’s Indictments
Donald Trump was indicted by a grand jury in Washington on Tuesday. The charges include conspiracy with aides to overturn the 2020 election results and led to the events of January 6, 2021, commonly referred to as the Capitol insurrection.

Apart from this indictment, Trump also faces two other legal cases. One is a state case in New York related to hush money payments, while the other is a federal case in Florida involving allegations of obstruction of justice and improper retention of classified documents.

Trump is scheduled to make an appearance before Federal Magistrate Judge Moxila A. Upadhyaya to enter his plea, and it is expected that he will plead not guilty to the four charges brought against him.

Once the trial commences, Trump’s case will be overseen by U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan, who was nominated by President Barack Obama. Judge Chutkan has previously presided over other cases related to the January 6, 2021 insurrection and has been known to impose longer sentences on defendants than what the Department of Justice has requested.

As the time of Trump’s arraignment approaches, there is more media presence than protesters in front of the federal courthouse in Washington. Inside the courthouse, dozens of journalists await the hearing, while countless others operate cameras outside. So far, there have been no large demonstrations, but a small group of anti-Trump and pro-Trump protesters has gathered near the courthouse.

Trump’s motorcade set off earlier from his Bedminster, N.J. golf club, making its way to the Newark airport for the flight to Washington, D.C., where he is to face his latest federal court arraignment.

Protests were not absent during his journey.

In an all-caps post on Truth Social, Trump expressed his anticipation of the arrest, claiming it to be an honor as he believes he is being arrested on behalf of the people for challenging what he perceives as a corrupt, rigged, and stolen election. He urged for the restoration of “Make America Great Again.”

However, in reality, Trump is facing allegations of criminal conspiracy with others to overturn the 2020 election, which resulted in President Joe Biden’s victory.

The departure of Trump’s plane from Newark is scheduled around 2 p.m., with an estimated arrival near D.C. at approximately 3:30 p.m.

His arraignment at the federal courthouse in downtown Washington is slated for 4 p.m.

Insights into Trump’s Third Arraignment
In what is now his third arraignment, it is expected that Trump will once again enter a not guilty plea, similar to his stance in the previous federal government case concerning the mishandling of national security documents.

The focus of the current indictment is primarily on Trump’s efforts to exert pressure on election officials in Georgia. This has raised concerns that he might face a fourth indictment soon for election fraud allegations as part of a separate investigation.

Presiding over Trump’s case in Washington is U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, an appointee of the Obama administration. Known for her tough stance on sentencing Jan. 6 rioters, she plays a significant role in this ongoing trial.

Unlike the two prior indictments, this case poses a unique and unprecedented stress test for U.S. democracy, raising questions such as whether a president can effectively govern from behind bars. The outcome of this high-profile trial may have far-reaching implications for the nation and its future political landscape.

Will Trump’s Arraignment be Publicly Broadcasted?
No, Trump’s arraignment will not be televised, as federal courtrooms do not permit cameras or broadcasting equipment, ensuring that today’s proceedings will not be broadcasted.

Similarly, during his June arraignment in Miami, where he faced felony charges related to the mishandling of classified documents, there was no television coverage for the same reason.

Stephen Corson, a regular protester outside the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse in Washington, has been present on numerous occasions in the past few months. However, he anticipates a significant impact from Trump’s third indictment ahead of the 2024 election, stating that it could potentially negatively affect him and even prevent him from running for office in the future. Unlike the previous two indictments, this one is garnering more attention and appears to be a pivotal moment in the federal city, with growing significance and attention.

Prior to Donald Trump’s third indictment, a small group of his supporters gathered outside the Washington courthouse to express their support for the former president and voice criticism of the charges he is facing.

Among the supporters was Daniel Demoura, 32, who wore a t-shirt with the message “free the J6 political prisoners.” He defended the individuals involved in the January 6, 2021 Capitol breach, stating that they made their own choices and were not incited by Trump. Demoura emphasized that he attended the gathering out of his own free will, and Trump had not instructed him to do so. He affirmed that his support for the former president motivated him to be present at the scene.

At 61 years old, Domenic Santana holds a firm belief that Donald Trump should have been imprisoned and is unfit to hold public office. Santana was present outside the Miami, Florida courthouse during Trump’s arraignment in the case involving classified documents last month.

In Santana’s view, Trump is nothing more than a con artist who has managed to evade accountability for his actions. As a supporter of Chris Christie, a GOP candidate for the 2024 election, Santana admires Christie’s straightforwardness and conviction in his statements.

Santana emphasizes the need for a new strategy to counter Trump’s influence, urging Democrats to consider changing parties and participating in the Republican primaries to vote for Christie. By doing so, Santana hopes to remove Trump from the political landscape, citing that Trump plays a dirty game that calls for a different approach.

The arraignment of former President Donald Trump is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Thursday.

In preparation for his arrival, television production trucks and cameras have lined the street outside the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse since Thursday morning. Security measures have been heightened, with fences erected around the courthouse perimeter. This comes as Trump is expected to make his initial appearance in the case concerning his alleged attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Journalists are currently being granted access to the courthouse, as they seek to secure seats in the courtroom or in the overflow room designated for media members.

Experts and advocates assert that Donald Trump’s third indictment carries significant weight and is of utmost importance among the three he faces. The allegations in this indictment are deemed the most serious, particularly as it involves an attempt to invalidate millions of votes during the 2020 election. The American people witnessed the culmination of these crimes during the January 6th Capitol attack, making the case resonate more strongly with the public.

Svante Myrick, president of the progressive advocacy group People for the American Way, believes that the charges in the third indictment hold greater legal consequences for Trump than the previous cases. Myrick even expressed the possibility of Trump spending the rest of his life in prison due to the severity of the alleged offenses.

Christian Nunes, president of the National Organization for Women, echoed the sentiment that the third indictment reveals the gravity of Trump’s actions concerning the election. She described the indictment as long overdue and emphasized its potential to apply increased pressure on Trump as people witness the unfolding events.

What Lies Ahead for Trump? Potential Georgia Indictment Looms
Former President Donald Trump’s recent federal indictment, accusing him of attempting to overturn the 2020 election, has sparked attention toward a potential legal escalation in Georgia. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is anticipated to seek a grand jury indictment in the coming weeks related to Trump’s efforts to overturn the state’s 2020 elections.

Security preparations are underway in Atlanta, with orange barriers erected around the Fulton County courthouse, and police presence lining the streets. Despite challenges from Trump, a Fulton County Superior Court Judge refused to dismiss the findings of a special grand jury and disqualify Willis.

Speculation is rife about the nature of the Georgia investigation. It is believed that Willis, a Democrat, might build a case under the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which could lead to charges against multiple individuals within a wide-ranging scheme.

The investigation commenced over two years ago, following a recording of Trump’s call to Georgia’s secretary of state, urging him to “find” additional votes. This call was part of the federal indictment that accused Trump of manipulating the state’s vote count and questioning the validity of Biden’s electors’ votes.

While Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, declined to comment on the federal indictment, some Georgia Republican lawmakers dismissed it as a “sham prosecution.” Congressman Mike Collins called for funding cuts to the Department of Justice, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene labeled it a “communist attack” on social media, pledging her continued support for Trump regardless of his legal situation.

Despite facing his third indictment, former President Donald Trump remains undeterred from his political pursuits and is planning campaign stops in key early primary states. His legal troubles have not hindered his determination to engage with the Republican base.

First on his agenda, Trump is set to headline the South Carolina Republican Party’s annual Silver Elephant Dinner in Columbia on Saturday. This event serves as an opportunity for him to connect with party members and garner support for potential future endeavors.

Additionally, the Trump campaign has revealed plans for the former president to travel to New Hampshire on Tuesday, where he will deliver a speech at a high school in Windham. New Hampshire’s role as an early primary state holds significance in the presidential nomination process, making this appearance a strategic move on Trump’s part.

Despite the recent indictment, Trump appears resolute in his commitment to engage with his supporters and maintain a presence in key states as he continues to play a prominent role in Republican politics.