Former President Donald Trump called his federal indictment a “travesty of justice” in his first public appearance since being charged with allegedly mishandling classified documents after leaving the White House.
Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nomination, drew cheers and applause from about 2,000 delegates at a state GOP convention in Georgia as he denied obstructing justice and asserting without evidence that the indictment was an attempt by President Joe Biden to “imprison his chief adversary.” »
Trump tried to suggest that the special counsel’s investigation leading to Friday’s indictment was a political advantage, saying “the only good thing about it is that it boosted my poll numbers. “.
The former president began campaigning ahead of his scheduled court appearance in Miami on Tuesday. He planned to address a Republican state convention in North Carolina later Saturday.
Trump’s appearance in Georgia comes as Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis debates whether to indict Trump over his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss to Biden – the one of many legal entanglements brewing for Trump ahead of next year’s election.
The 37-count indictment unsealed by the Justice Department on Friday is a significant escalation of his legal exposure. That opens a door for Republican rivals to offer themselves as an alternative to Trump’s third bid for the Oval Office.
Trump is the first former US president to face federal allegations of criminal conduct. The indictment, unsealed by a Miami federal court, outlines 37 counts of seven counts, including willfully withholding national defense information, bribery concealment of documents, conspiracy in view to obstruct justice and misrepresentation.
“This vicious persecution is a travesty of justice,” Trump said Saturday in Columbus, Georgia.
For his part, Biden said Thursday that he had not spoken to the Justice Department about the case.
Trump’s base has been undeterred in the past. His fundraising and standing among primary voters surged in April when he was indicted in a Manhattan court for allegedly paying silent money to adult film actor Stormy Daniels.
In Georgia, Trump failed last year in a bid for revenge against Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for refusing to change the 2020 election results. Both won re-election, despite major Trump-backed challengers.