- by cnn
- 01 Oct 2023
Most of Tuesday's hearing, where former President Donald Trump made his first appearance in court facing 37 federal charges, followed an expected script, but the proceedings were dragged out by a disagreement over whether Trump should be restricted from talking to certain witnesses in the case.
That prohibition was not initially recommended in the bond proposal special counsel Jack Smith's team was seeking. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman raised the concern himself.
Goodman, noting that this was a typical restriction in cases filed in the Southern District of Florida, where the indictment against Trump was brought, suggested that prosecutors put together a list of witnesses and victims in the case, and that Trump avoid communicating with them as the case moves forward.
The judge also said that for Trump's co-defendant, Walt Nauta, the limitation would only be on communications about the case, with Goodman noting that Nauta works closely with Trump and is with him nearly every day.
Nauta, who did not enter a plea Tuesday since he did not have a local attorney, will be arraigned later this month. He faces six counts related to the classified documents investigation.
Todd Blanche, Trump's attorney, resisted the idea of barring all contact with the case's witnesses, in a back-and-forth with the judge that played out over several rounds.
"Many of the people, including the men and women to protect him, may be witnesses in this case," Blanche said. He said the restriction "isn't appropriate" and "doesn't work."
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