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Trump Pleads Not Guilty to Federal Charges That He Tried to Overturn The 2020 Election

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump pleaded not guilty Thursday to trying to overturn the results of his 2020 presidential election loss, answering for the first time to federal charges that accuse him of orchestrating a brazen and ultimately failed attempt to block the peaceful transfer of presidential power.

Trump appeared before a magistrate judge in Washington’s federal courthouse two days after being indicted on four felony counts by Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith.

The charges accuse him of trying to subvert the will of voters and undo his election loss in the days before Jan. 6, 2021, when supporters stormed the US Capitol in a violent and bloody clash with law enforcement.

Trump, the 2024 Republican presidential primary front-runner, is facing charges including conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruct Congress’ certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory.

His appearance Thursday, and the rest of the court case, will unfold in a courthouse blocks in clear view of the Capitol and in a building where more than 1,000 of the Capitol rioters have been charged.

Trump has said he is innocent, and his legal team has characterised the latest case as an attack on his right to free speech.

The case is part of an ongoing set of escalating legal troubles for the ex-president, coming nearly two months after Trump pleaded not guilty to dozens of federal felony counts accusing him of hoarding classified documents and thwarting government efforts to retrieve them.