An ex-president of the United States, Mr. Donald Trump, entered a Manhattan courthouse as a defendant shortly after 14:30 E. In his trademark blue suit and red tie, he entered the room accompanied by his Secret Service detail, sending an electrifying buzz through the space. As he made his way to the front of the courtroom, where his defence counsel was waiting for him, he did so with a solemn expression on his face and what appeared to be heavy, slow steps.
Everyone stood up to welcome the judge, Juan Merchan, including Mr. Trump. Judge Merchan presided in a calm manner without once raising his voice, despite the political and news circus taking place 15 stories below the courtroom. Everyone in the room was aware of the hearing’s importance, despite the fact that it largely dealt with procedural issues, such as deadlines for the attorneys and the next court date.
When the judge read the 34 felony counts that had been brought against him, the judge said, “Not guilty.”
At one point, Judge Merchan turned to Mr. Trump personally and reminded him that he was entitled to attend any procedures pertaining to his case. Mr. Trump said “yes” when asked if he understood this.
The court continued by saying that Mr. Trump might forfeit his right to attend his trial if, like any defendant, he acted in an unruly or disruptive manner.
Prosecutors claimed that Mr. Trump had posted ominous messages on social media, including one that threatened “death and destruction” if he were to be indicted. The case, which Mr. Trump felt represented a “huge injustice,” had him irritated and angry, according to Mr. Trump’s attorneys.
“I don’t share your opinion that some terminology and certain words are warranted by exasperation,” the judge replied in response to the defence attorneys.
Judge Merchan stated that his request—rather than an order—to refrain from using further inflammatory language was not an order, but that he would need to take “a deeper look” if the problem resurfaced.
As soon as Mr. Trump stood, his Secret Service detail surrounded him. The former president whispered softly to his attorneys, but the press sitting a few rows behind him could not hear him.
He then made a U-turn and left the courtroom through the same back entrance he had come in through. To the crowd of television cameras outside, he said nothing. He had a really serious face. The first case involving a US president in court was ongoing.
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