The federal government’s case against former President Donald Trump took a new turn when Judge Aileen Cannon ordered special counsel Jack Smith to release his list of 84 witnesses to the media and the general public. After several requests from media outlets, Cannon made it clear that she was not convinced that prosecutors cannot shield their witnesses from public scrutiny without filing the list with the court. However, President Trump has already been provided with the names of witnesses against him, but he is not allowed to contact them except through counsel as part of his release agreement.
According to sources, some of the individuals on the list, including Waltine Nauta, a body man, were allegedly seen on tape handling boxes that contained incriminating documents at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. Trump’s attorneys have intimated that Nauta and others on the list may remain in close proximity to the former president.
The case against President Trump is a historic one, being the first time that federal criminal charges have been filed against a current or former U.S. president under the 1917 Espionage Act. Prosecutors allege that the former president possessed classified documents and obstructed an investigation by authorities to recover them. However, Trump’s legal team has maintained that any documents he took from the White House were declassified through executive action under the Presidential Records Act.
FBI agents ordered to turn off Mar-a-lago security cameras during raid. WHY? https://t.co/m4CauhTiwt
— Juanita Broaddrick (@atensnut) June 27, 2023
The former president’s lawyers plan to subpoena dozens of witnesses who may introduce bias in the government’s investigation, including FBI agents who reportedly ordered Mar-a-Lago staff to turn off security cameras during a raid. Timothy Parlatore, a former attorney for Trump, suggested the entire case may be dismissed after claiming that federal prosecutors hinted to a grand jury that the former president is guilty simply for exercising his attorney-client privileges.
Judge Cannon has set an earlier-than-expected date for the trial, set to coincide with the earliest phases of the Republican presidential primary season. It remains to be seen how this legal battle will play out, but it’s clear that it will be a contentious one.