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Trump pleads not guilty from afar to second indictment in secret documents case

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Former President Donald Trump ended the need to fly to Florida next week when he pleaded not guilty Friday in a paper application to three new charges against him in an alternate charge related to his handling of classified documents after he left office.

In doing so, he waived a trial in Fort Pierce, Florida, scheduled for August 10 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Shaniek Mills Maynard.

Trump, 77, appeared in person Thursday in a U.S. district court in Washington, D.C., to plead not guilty to a third federal charge filed against him by prosecutors. The long-awaited indictment filed by Special Counsel Jack Smith, whose office also filed the documents case, alleges that the former president orchestrated an illegal attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election he lost to President Joe Biden.

After that plea, Trump boarded his private jet and flew back to New Jersey, where he will spend the summer.

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The not-guilty plea entered in federal court of South Florida in the classified documents case and posted on the case Friday took the form of a one-page document titled “Waiver to Appear for Arraignment “.

“I have received a copy of the indictment and the plea is NOT GUILTY for the offense(s) charged,” the filing reads. “I am aware that under Rule 10 of the Federal Rues of Criminal Procedure I have the right to be present in court for my charges. I waive my right to appear in court at my arraignment.”

The document was signed and dated Friday by Trump and his Florida attorney, Christopher Kise.

The new charges against Trump include attempting to remove Mar-a-Lago security footage sought by a grand jury subpoena, making false statements to the FBI and unlawfully retaining a document containing national defense information .

Trump pleaded not guilty to dozens of felonies in a Miami court on June 12 in the first indictment that charges him with hoarding classified documents and refusing government demands to return them.

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Trump’s paper plea on Friday leaves co-defendants Waltine Nauta, 40, an aide to Trump, and Carlos De Oliveira, 56, the property manager of the former president’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, as the others who have yet to be charged on charges filed in the superseding indictment.

De Oliveira apparently still needs to retain a Florida attorney authorized to represent him in the Southern District of Florida. Since De Oliveira first appeared in Miami last Monday, no hiring notice has appeared in the court file.

The Fort Pierce magistrate likely expects De Oliveira to have a local attorney by his side during the hearing next Thursday.


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