(Singapore, Aug 4, 2023) Former US President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty Thursday to the unprecedented charges accusing him, a former president, of trying to subvert the peaceful transfer of power.

In total, he was charged with four crimes. Among them: conspiring to defraud the U.S., obstructing an official proceeding, and conspiring against the rights of voters. Trump has denied wrongdoing and accused prosecutors of pursuing him to undermine his bid to return to the White House.

“This is a very sad day for America… This is a persecution of a potential political opponent.” Trump said after the hearing.

According to a Wall Street Journal Report, hundreds of people massed outside the court to watch the spectacle as Trump and his team arrived in black SUVs for him to surrender to authorities. It marked the third time in four months that Trump has been arraigned on criminal charges.

A demonstrators outside the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Federal Courthouse in Washington on Thursday. Photo: WSJ

In a separate federal case, Trump is facing charges that he improperly retained classified government documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, and obstructed the government’s efforts to retrieve them. Local prosecutors in New York have charged him with 34 felony counts related to a hush-money payment made to a porn star in the final stretch of the 2016 election. And the district attorney in Fulton County also has been investigating Trump for election interference.

As in the New York and Florida criminal cases, prosecutors didn’t ask for Trump to be detained pending trial. According to a law-enforcement official, he was processed and fingerprinted—but no mug shot was taken—by U.S. Marshals at the federal courthouse in Washington, the equivalent of an arrest for suspects who voluntarily surrender, the WSJ report said.

As part of his conditions of release, Trump agreed not to commit any other crimes and not to communicate about the case with anyone who is a potential witness.

However, the charges haven’t deterred Trump’s supporters and have resulted in a surge of fundraising for his 2024 presidential campaign. The hearing took place just blocks from the Capitol, where on Jan. 6, 2021, rioters attacked police officers and smashed windows in an attempt to prevent Congress from certifying the victory of Biden, the WSJ report said.