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The artist behind a flattering courtroom sketch of Donald Trump has defended his controversial depiction of the former president.

William J Hennessy Jr was one of three artists who drew Mr Trump, 77, during his arraignment in Miami on 13 June on 37 federal counts related to willful mishandling classified documents, obstruction of justice and making false statements.

The sketch of a slimmed down, youthful-looking Mr Trump standing bolt upright provoked protests on social media for being overly generous to the defendant.

“Is this William J Hennessy Jr’s audition to do Trumps official White House portrait?” quipped one person.

“That last sketch of Trump looks almost exactly like the recent photo of his son Barron,” another tweeted.

A third person commented that “they got Trump looking like ‘Prince of Tides’ Nick Nolte in this sketch.”

Mr Hennessy told the Boston Globe he was bemused by the strong response, which he said had been about half positive and half critical.

“It’s rare I get any kind of feedback,” Mr Hennessy told the news site.

An arraignment courtroom sketch of Donald Trump provoked howls of outrage on social media (William J Hennessy Jr.)

“Some said he looked too thin, too young, and some said he looked too good.”

He told the Globe the court appearance had been “pretty stressful” to cover. Journalists reported waiting in line for 24 hours to get a seat in the courtroom.

“I don’t editorialise,” he said. “I just draw what I see.”

Former U.S. President Trump appears on classified document charges after a federal indictment at Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. United States Courthouse, alongside his aide Walt Nauta and attorneys Chris Kise and Todd Blanche in Miami, Florida, U.S., June 13, 2023 in a courtroom sketch (REUTERS)

Former U.S. President Trump appears on classified document charges after a federal indictment at Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. United States Courthouse, alongside his aide Walt Nauta and attorneys Chris Kise and Todd Blanche in Miami, Florida, U.S., June 13, 2023 in a courtroom sketch (REUTERS)

Other sketches during Mr Trump’s arraignment showed the 45th president hunched over with his arms folded and a scowl on his face.

Mr Trump has pleaded not guilty to all the counts, and has denounced the investigation as a political “witch hunt”.

When Mr Trump appeared for arraignment in New York in April on charges relating to falsifying business records around hush money payments during the 2016 presidential campaign, he told officers he weighed 240 pounds (109 kgs).



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