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Trump leaves court, shares prayers with Cuban exiles at Café Versailles after not guilty plea

The former president left the U.S. District Courthouse for the Southern District of Florida at about 4 p.m., and shared prayers with Cuban exiles at Café Versailles who wished him a happy birthday

Café Versailles
Café Versailles | Café Versailles website

June 13, 2023 4:19pm

Updated: June 13, 2023 4:19pm

Former President Donald Trump left the U.S. District Courthouse for the Southern District of Florida at about 4 p.m. after entering a formal plea of not guilty to federal charges filed against him by the Justice Department.

His motorcade drove him in Miami traffic back to Miami International Airport, where his signature Trump commercial size jet is scheduled to fly him back to New Jersey.

But before leaving he decided to stop at Miami’s famous Café Versailles, a virtual headquarters for the Cuban exile community, which showered him with cheers.

Some of the patrons even prayed with the former president to wish him well with his legal woes, and sang him Happy Birthday for his 77th birthday the following day, June 14.

"We have a country that is in decline like never before, and we can't let it happen," he said to his fans. 

"God bless Donald Trump" many patrons were heard shouting. 

The president also shouted, “food for everyone!” pledging to buy dinner for the entire restaurant.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez commended Miami police and federal authorities for ensuring there were no incidents outside the courthouse, which was flooded with hundreds of protestors, most of whom showed their vocal support for the former president.

ADN correspondents who attended the arraignment said the president remained silent throughout the hearing, which was presided over by U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman. His lawyers, Chris Kise and Todd Blanch, entered his formal plea of not guilty, asserting his innocence in the 37 federal charges filed against him in the Justice Department’s 49-page indictment.

Trump and his primary accuser, Special Counsel Jack Smith did not make eye contact or speak to one another, according to ADN correspondents.

The Special Counsel sat in the first row of the courtroom just one row behind and opposite where the president and federal prosecutors sat.

Federal prosecutors did give the former president one benefit of the doubt by telling the judge they did not believe Trump was a “flight risk,” making pre-trial detention a non-issue.

Trump’s lawyers are expected to demand a trial by jury, a case that expected to be heard by U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon, a jurist who was appointed by Trump in 2020.

U.S. prosecutors refrained from handcuffing Trump or taking a photo of the former president’s booking process.

While hundreds of demonstrators appeared in front of the courthouse to show their support for Trump, the demonstrations were peaceful and there were no reports of significant disturbances or violence.

Trump is continuing to fundraise amid his criminal justice process, and there is no indication he has canceled any upcoming campaign events.