Former President Donald Trump arrives at the Federal Courthouse, Monday, Feb. 12, 2024, in Fort Pierce, Fla. Trump is appearing at a closed hearing in his criminal case charging him with mishandling classified documents. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)
FORT PIERCE, Fla. (AP) — Seeking to turn legal problems into political gain, former President Donald Trump arrived Monday to a crowd of supporters at a federal courthouse in Florida for a closed hearing in the criminal case charging him with mishandling classified documents.
In the latest mixing of court appearances into Trump’s election-season calendar, supporters with signs and flags assembled outside a courthouse barricade as a Trump campaign message to allies with the subject line of “I’m in court. Again!” warned that unspecified opponents “want me arrested” and “erased from the ballot.”
The message underscored anew his team’s strategy of politicizing his four criminal prosecutions, including in the battleground state of Florida, where he faces dozens of felony counts accusing him of hoarding highly classified records at his Mar-a-Lago estate and obstructing FBI efforts to get them back.
Monday’s court date was scheduled as a procedural hearing, closed to the public, to discuss the procedures for handling classified evidence in the trial currently set for May 20. U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon set arguments in the morning from defense lawyers and in the afternoon from prosecutors, each outside of the other’s presence.
“Defense counsel shall be prepared to discuss their defense theories of the case, in detail, and how any classified information might be relevant or helpful to the defense,” Cannon wrote in scheduling the hearing.
The closed hearing comes as prosecutors have also revealed that a prospective government witness has received threats over social media that are now the subject of federal investigation.
Trump’s motorcade arrived at the courthouse in Fort Pierce shortly after 9 a.m. Supporters outside held signs with messages including “Trump 2024” and “Florida is Trump Country.”
The hearing is one of several voluntary court dates that Trump has attended in recent weeks — he was present, for instance, at appeals court arguments last month in Washington — as he looks to demonstrate to supporters that he intends to fight the criminal prosecutions he faces while also seeking to reclaim the White House this November.
Trump faces charges in Atlanta and Washington related to efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. He’s also charged in state court in New York in connection with hush money payments made to porn actor Stormy Daniels. He has denied any wrongdoing.
By ADRIANA GOMEZ LICON and ERIC TUCKER Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Iditarod, the annual sled dog race celebrating Alaska's official state sport, is set to get underway Saturday with a new focus on safety after five dogs died and eight were injured in collisions with snowmobiles while training on shared, multi-use trails.
Have an idea for a story, or know of an event we should cover? We want to hear about it!
The National Herald is the paper of record of the Greek Diaspora community. Through independent journalism, we bring news to generations of Greek-Americans, with stories on the individual, community and international level. Visit and support our 106 year-old sister publication Εθνικός Κήρυξ.
You’re reading 1 of 3 free articles this month. Get unlimited access to The National Herald. or Log In