Donald J. Trump’s motorcade moved slowly to the federal courthouse in Miami for the former president’s federal arraignment where he met Special Counsel Jack Smith for the first time inside the courtroom of Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman.
The courthouse was surrounded by law enforcement and military-garbed security with MAGA supporters and protestors lining the streets.
The gravity of the moment was unprecedented as the former U.S. president had to answer to 37 felony counts that accuses him of willfully retaining and hiding alleged classified records, and charges of obstruction of justice.
Trump’s attorney Todd Blanche entered the former president’s not guilty plea.
Magistrate Judge Goodman ruled that the former president has no limit on international travel and carrying firearms and Trump did not have to surrender his passport. There was no mug shot or traditionally fingerprints, but he was digitally finger-printed.
In an unusual ruling, the magistrate judge, who will have nothing more to do with this case, ordered Trump not to have any contact with any witnesses in the case about the case unless through Trump’s attorneys.
That raises a significant conflict of interest for the case because one of Trump’s attorneys is Evan Corcoran who was not specifically named in the indictment, but certainly could be assumed to be Attorney 1. Corcoran not only has represented Trump since 2022 on the document case but represents the former president in other matters.
Jack Smith was able to obtain attorney-client notes in Corcoran’s notes by invoking crime-fraud exception to the attorney client privilege.
At this juncture in time in a criminal case like this, motions will be filed, and the prosecutors have not even turned over the specific witness list to a defendant’s counsel nor evidentiary hearings which will determine what is admissible in court. All of that occurs after an arraignment and before the trial begins following status conferences and meetings behind closed doors.
As stated to CDM by an esteemed former prosecutor, “The Judge is a moron and will have nothing to do with this case as of today and the presiding Judge Aileen Cannon could easily overturned the magistrate’s ruling.”
If convicted, Trump could face prison time.
The case is shrouded with political implications for Trump while he holds the dominant position in the 2024 Republican presidential primary with a 40% lead according to the latest poll.
The case is also a watershed moment for the Justice Department that has never before brought charges against a former president. Attorney General Merrick Garland has tried to insulate the department from political attacks and gave ownership of the case to Special Counsel Jack Smith, who said publicly on the day the indictment was released, “We have one set of laws in this country, and they apply to everyone.”
Attorney Merrick Garland sanctioned Jack Smith and his prosecutorial team to investigate the classified Trump documents at Mar-A-Lago and Trump’s involvement in the January 6, 2021 Capitol protest.
The latter investigation into Trump is ongoing.
Trump has called these investigations a continuation of the “witch hunt” since the first Russian investigation based upon the false Steele dossier during his 2016 campaign was in motion, which was approved by Hillary Clinton, his political opponent, and known to then sitting President Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden. The dossier was and paid for with campaign donations to Perkins Coie law firm and to Fusion GPS.
The former president’s full legal team in this criminal case has not been decided.
The attorneys representing him during his arraignment included: Todd Blanche and Chris Kise.
Trump will address 600- 700 guests at his Bedminister New Jersey Golf Club Tuesday evening for a campaign fundraising following his arraignment.
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