With dozens of supporters packing a Miami federal courthouse, a former Haitian coup leader and recent senator-elect pleaded not guilty in a U.S. drug trafficking case.
Guy Philippe entered the plea Friday morning to drug smuggling and money laundering conspiracy charges that carry a maximum life prison sentence.
Philippe was flown to the U.S. to face the longstanding charges after his arrest last week in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince during a live radio show.
Supporters who came to the courthouse Friday said the 48-year-old Philippe is innocent and blamed his arrest on political foes. Philippe was recently elected to the Haitian Senate, which supporters say should give him immunity from prosecution.
A former police chief, Philippe was a key part of a 2004 uprising that ousted then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.