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Donald Trump Listened In Silence, Barely Opened His Mouth Inside Court

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Donald Trump Listened In Silence, Barely Opened His Mouth Inside Court

Trump is accused of endangering national security by keeping top secret docs at his Florida home

Miami, United States:

Donald Trump scowled, hunched his shoulders and barely opened his mouth in a Miami federal court Tuesday, as he faced criminal charges in a scene that might have seemed unimaginable a few months ago.

Crossing and uncrossing his arms, and dressed as usual in a dark suit and red tie, the former president listened in silence to the judge and prosecutor, at one point whispering into the ear of his lawyer, Todd Blanche.

A world away from his gilded golf clubs and the Oval Office he occupied for four years, Trump — through his lawyer — pleaded not guilty to 37 felony charges related to mishandling of classified documents.

In the case appearing before federal court in Miami, one of several legal challenges casting a shadow over Trump’s 2024 presidential candidacy, the Republican stands accused of endangering national security by illegally keeping top secret military plans and nuclear weapons information at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

In the courtroom, Judge Jonathan Goodman asked whether the prosecution wanted the defendant to surrender his passport. “No, your honor,” replied federal prosecutor David Harbach.

Should the former president be barred from leaving the country? Again Harbach responded: “No, your honor.”

In the end, Goodman said he would impose a “special condition” on Trump, ordering him to “avoid all contact with witnesses and victims except through counsel.”

That means Trump will not be allowed to discuss the case with his codefendant, Waltine Nauta, an aide who was present in the courtroom alongside the former president.

‘USA, USA’

Blanche, one of Trump’s attorneys, rose to negotiate in a respectful tone, at times almost pleading with the judge.

The condition “isn’t appropriate,” Blanche argued, because among the witnesses are people Trump deals with on a daily basis.

“One of the key witnesses, that we know of, is one of the president’s lawyers. Respectfully, it doesn’t work,” Blanche argued.

Flanked by Blanche and his other lawyer, Christopher Kise, Trump followed the proceedings with his eyebrows furrowed.

Conciliatory, the prosecutor then proposed that Trump’s lawyers draw up a partial list of witnesses “to accommodate this type of concern.”

Blanche pressed again — without much luck — that the condition was too restrictive.

The judge finally decided that the prosecutor’s office would write the witness list, including the people with whom Trump could not have contact “about the facts of the case, except through counsel.”

If Trump’s defense deemed the list “excessive… illogical or problematic,” the judge said, they could file a motion on the matter to him, and he would decide.

Documents were then brought for Trump to sign. He glanced at them while lawyers reviewed the papers. Then he initialed them.

A little less than an hour after a case known officially as “United States vs Donald J. Trump” was gaveled to order, the judge made a pronouncement.

“My involvement with this case ends… right about now,” Goodman said, a note of humor in his voice. The judge, who had been pre-assigned to deal with the day’s docket, possibly was relieved not to deal further with this historic and potentially explosive matter.

Journalists then rushed outside to file the latest information to their newsrooms, as no cameras were allowed in the courtroom.

Facing the courthouse, a few hundred Trump supporters who braved the Florida heat to show their support for the former president shouted, “USA, USA!”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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