Two days following his indictment by Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith, the ex-president showed up before a magistrate judge in Washington’s federal courthouse. This marks the third occasion in this year where former President Donald Trump has had to respond to criminal allegations in court. This latest charge alleges that he attempted to thwart the peaceful transition of power after the 2020 presidential election.

By Friday morning, the ex-president had returned to his New Jersey golf club, preparing to face his third criminal trial after entering a not guilty plea on Thursday.

Trump spent a brief 27 minutes inside the Washington D.C. federal courtroom, where he pleaded not guilty to four felony charges, including allegations of defrauding the U.S. government and attempting to reverse an election he had lost. Despite a prohibition on cameras, courtroom sketches have offered a sneak peek of the arraignment, showing Trump seated merely 20 feet away from special counsel Jack Smith.

While prosecutors are keen for a swift trial, Trump’s legal representatives are pushing back, arguing that the volume of discovery material necessitates a slower process.

He voiced to reporters, “This is a political opponent’s persecution. This event was never intended to happen in America. It’s the persecution of the person leading the Republican primary by a significant margin.”

Also Read: Trump campaign says it saw surge in donations after indictment

As part of their strategy, his legal team is forming a defense centered around free speech. The indictment clearly states that Trump had the right to speak and even spread misinformation regarding the election results. However, they argue that the charges are focused on his purported actions, including an alleged plan involving false electors.

With Trump due back in court on August 28, more information may be revealed regarding the potential trial timeline.