Trump pleads not guilty on new felony counts

WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump was in a federal courtroom today, facing four charges in connection with alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election while knowing he had lost to President Biden.

It was an almost familiar routine for the three-time indicted former president — but these charges are anything but routine, accusing the former president of conspiring to overturn a election he had lost and defraud the government he once led.

“This is a day that we have never seen before in American history,” said presidential historian Michael Beschloss.

Trump pleaded not guilty Thursday to trying to overturn the results of his 2020 election loss.

Trump, the 2024 Republican presidential primary front-runner, sat stern-faced with his hands folded, shaking his head at times as he conferred with an attorney and occasionally glancing around the courtroom as his court appearance began. He stood up to enter his “not guilty” plea, answered perfunctory questions from the judge and thanked her at the conclusion of the arraignment.

Before leaving his Bedminster Club in New Jersey, Trump took his case to the court of public opinion, slamming the investigation as politically motivated and pointing to his growing popularity despite his legal troubles, writing: “I need one more indictment to ensure my election.”

The Trump legal team is forming a free-speech defense. “This is the first time that the First Amendment has been criminalized,” said John Lauro, attorney for the former president.

The indictment spells out that Mr. Trump had a right to speak — and even to lie about the election results — but the charges are centered on his alleged actions leading up to the deadly Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol attack, including a scheme involving fake electors.

This is a developing story and will continue to be updated.