Judge Warns Trump Against Influencing Witnesses

The various investigations of former President Trump at the state and federal levels keep escalating as prosecutors continue scrutinizing aspects of his business and political activities.

These ongoing investigations have resulted in Mr. Trump being indicted on three separate occasions, including two by special counsel Jack Smith and one by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg.

The series of indictments commenced in March when District Attorney Bragg brought forth 34 felony charges against Mr. Trump for a paid coverup of a sexual affair. 

In June, the first federal indictment against Mr. Trump was filed as part of the special counsel’s examination into how he managed classified documents and whether he hindered the government’s attempts to retrieve them after his term ended.

Within this federal case, Mr. Trump is faced with a total of 40 criminal charges: 32 of them concerning the withholding of information critical to national defense, five related to the concealment of possession of classified documents, one tied to making false statements, and two involving an attempt to erase security camera footage at his Mar-a-Lago estate where the documents were kept.

The special counsel’s most recent case against Mr. Trump was filed on Tuesday, originating from an investigation into his alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Moxila Upadhyaya, who presided over the arraignment of former President Donald Trump on Thursday, warned him sternly against any attempts to influence witnesses, including through bribery.

During the proceedings, Upadhyaya emphasized to Trump that any acts of retaliation are considered criminal offenses.

Trump made his way to the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., to respond to three federal charges related to a conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election and one charge of obstruction of an official proceeding. He entered a plea of not guilty to all the charges.

Upadhyaya’s warning was prompted by an earlier allegation from the House committee that investigated the events of Jan. 6 at Capitol Hill. Former Rep. Liz Cheney, a committee member, stated that Trump and his associates had made multiple attempts to contact an unnamed witness involved in the investigation.

The arraignment process for Trump took a total of 27 minutes.

Upadhyaya has scheduled the next hearing for Trump for Aug. 28 at 10 a.m. EDT. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan will preside over the hearing, and Upadhyaya has waived Trump’s requirement to appear at that time.