Trump May Campaign But No Longer See Part of His Entourage

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Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty to all 37 federal charges of misappropriating classified documents. The American ex-president may continue to campaign but no longer have contact with part of his entourage.

 

In a bleak climate, with hundreds of Donald Trump fans and counter-protesters shouting their rage in one direction or another around the Miami courthouse, the former president of the United States has pleaded not guilty to all charges—these range from the theft of sensitive government material to obstruction of justice and espionage.

The question was whether close associate Walt Nauta, Trump’s co-accused, would do the same. But because he didn’t have a local lawyer, his part of the case was not discussed. Nauta is a former military man who has worked as Trump’s aide for years. He would have played an important role in hiding the documents from the FBI. There are only four charges against Nauta, but they could cost him decades in prison. That is why there is speculation that he could turn against his boss and become a key witness, but that does not seem to be the case for the time being.

The atmosphere around the court was boisterous, like a kind of circus with colourfully dressed supporters and opponents of the ex-president. Some scolded the media and called out that everything is a witch hunt, and others that Trump threatens democracy and should be locked up.

Vivek Ramaswamy, one of Trump’s rivals for the Republican nomination, gave a press conference outside the courthouse. He promised that if he becomes president, he will give Trump a full amnesty on his first day.

News from the session was sparse because neither cameras nor mobile phones were allowed. According to reporters on the ground, Trump looked tired and gloomy. He told Politico that he “really doesn’t want to be charged. I don’t care if that’s good for my ratings. Who wants to be prosecuted by the judiciary?’ On his social network Truth Social, he has also raged recently: he even called special prosecutor Jack Smith a terrorist.

We didn’t get much wiser about the position of Judge Aileen W. Cannon, about whom there are a lot of controversies because she already made interim decisions in Trump’s favour earlier in this dossier. However, Cannon, who Trump nominated, did not avenge himself and will lead the process.

The session was relatively short. Trump’s lawyers allowed the 37 indictments not to be read in full. Trump, twirling his fingers, beamed that he hoped it would end as soon as possible. While both he and Nauta were initially formally apprehended – a first in US history at a federal level – neither had to be mugshot because their faces were familiar enough, and the likelihood of them fleeing was unrealistic.

More critical for Trump is that he can continue to travel and campaign. However, he was given one necessary condition. The prosecution demanded that he should no longer have contact with potential witnesses in the case. That is a logical requirement since the ex-president is also accused of concrete attempts to cover up evidence and pressure employees.

But the FBI’s investigation in Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida residence, questioned everyone, from the gardener to his closest associates. So he would almost become a hermit. That is why a compromise was decided: Jack Smith’s team must now draw up a list of people whom Trump is forbidden to see: it is suspected that this will not be about his gardener but about senior employees in Mar-a -Lago. To what extent that also complicates Trump’s campaign remains to be seen.

The biggest question remains unanswered for the time being. It will depend mainly on Judge Cannon: namely whether all evidence will be admitted, especially how soon the actual trial will start. For the prosecution as soon as possible, Trump’s team of lawyers will do everything they can to postpone the case until next year’s presidential election.

Trump himself visited a Cuban restaurant in Miami shortly after the session to be praised by his fans.

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