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Monday June 17, 2024

Donald Trump to make first public appearance in Georgia since indictment

According to his post on Truth Social, former US president said he would enter a not guilty plea at his upcoming appearance on Tuesday

By Web Desk
June 10, 2023
Former US President Donald Trump. — AFP/File
Former US President Donald Trump. — AFP/File

Former US President Donald Trump is scheduled to speak at the Georgia GOP convention in Columbus on Saturday, marking his first public appearance since he was charged in federal court.

Insisting on his "innocence," the former US president announced on Truth Social that he would enter a not-guilty plea at his upcoming appearance on Tuesday at a federal courthouse in Miami.

The former president is facing criminal charges as a result of an investigation into how he handled confidential government records after leaving the White House.

The Justice Department has charged Trump with 31 counts of willful retention of classified documents, one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, one count of withholding a document or record, and other related charges.

According to the Justice Department, Trump endeavoured to obstruct the FBI and grand jury investigations and conceal the retention of classified documents.

Until he announced his federal indictment, Trump, who is still the front-runner for the Republican nomination in 2024, was slated to address the Georgia GOP convention.

However, the news of the indictment will undoubtedly be a constant in Trump's Saturday afternoon speech. The former president has been criticising the Biden administration on social media, calling the document probe and associated accusations a "hoax."

"There's never been anything like what's happened. I'm an innocent man; I'm an innocent person," Trump said in a video posted to Truth Social Thursday night.

According to CBS, the investigation's special counsel, Jack Smith, emphasised on Friday that laws protecting national defence information exist to safeguard the personnel of the US armed forces and intelligence community as they defend the country.

"We have one set of laws in this country, and they apply to everyone," Smith said at a news conference after the indictment was announced.

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, and failed gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake are expected to speak at the convention.

Georgia will be a critical battleground state in 2024, and a special grand jury has completed its work, CBS reported.

Ahead of the Georgia GOP convention, the Hardworking Americans PAC released polling suggesting Georgians have a majority unfavourable view of both Biden and Trump, and Trump has a 0.6% lead over the current president.

Despite the clash between Kemp and Trump over the 2020 election, Kemp stood by the results.

The former president will only be in Georgia for a brief period of time before continuing on to Greensboro, North Carolina, where he will give a speech later on Saturday.