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Court Denies Trump To Attempt To Block Testimony In Election Conspiracy Probe

Former President Donald Trump's legal woes continue to pile up as he faces multiple lawsuits and investigations

Former President Donald Trump’s legal woes continue to pile up as he faces multiple lawsuits and investigations.

In a Tuesday development, a federal appeals court denied Trump’s attempt to block former White House aides from testifying before a federal jury investigating efforts to undermine the 2020 presidential election.

Former U.S President Donald Trump makes statements at his Mar-a-Lago estate after being arraigned in New York City, on April 04, 2023, in Palm Beach, Florida. STRINGER/BENZINGA

This decision follows last month’s rejection of Trump’s executive privilege challenge to special counsel Jack Smith’s efforts to question former top administration officials.

Though the proceedings are largely under wraps, Bloomberg reports that prosecutors are seeking testimony from former Trump officials, including Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino and former Homeland Security acting secretary Ken Cuccinelli.

Trump’s lawyers were in court on Monday arguing for an order to maintain the status quo while the former president pursued the appeal.

The decision could spell trouble for Trump, as former officials may now testify about their involvement in efforts to undermine the 2020 presidential election, potentially including their role in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol.

The fact that Judge Beryl Howell previously rejected Trump’s executive privilege claims is significant, suggesting there may be incriminating evidence against the former president.

It’s worth noting that the three-judge panel assigned to the case includes Judge Greg Katsas, one of Trump’s nominees to the court, as well as two appointees under former President Barack Obama, Judges Patricia Millett and Robert Wilkins.

While Trump’s lawyers can still appeal the decision to the full D.C. Circuit or petition the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene, this latest development indicates the former president’s legal troubles are far from over.

Trump was arraigned on Tuesday where he faced 34 counts of falsifying business records in violation of New York state campaign laws. His indictment is related to the hush money payments made to Stormy Daniels, who’s legal name is Stephanie Clifford. Daniels was paid by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen. He is currently being represented by Joe Tacopina, Todd Blanche, and Susan Necheles for this case. 

He had voiced his attacks on Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and the current presiding judge Juan Merchan. Trump when on Truth Social attacking Bragg calling him an animal and said of Merchan as a “Trump hating” judge. 

“I have a Trump-hating judge, with a Trump-hating wife and family,” Trump said, adding that the judge’s daughter worked for Vice President Kamala Harris and “now receives money from the Biden-Harris campaign, and a lot of it.”

Merchan’s daughter, Loren, had previously worked for both the Biden and Harris campaigns as presidential candidates.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg speaks during a press conference following the arraignment of former U.S. President Donald Trump April 4, 2023, in New York City. Former U.S. President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts stemming from hush money payments in 2016. With his indictment, Trump will become the first former U.S. president in history to be charged with a criminal offense. KENA BETANCUR/BENZINGA

The top Republican frontrunner had thrived on raising more money for his presidential campaign after being indicted last week. 

“Most people get indicted, and if they happen to be running for an office or something, that’s sort of the end of their run and most likely their political career. Donald Trump gets indicted, and his numbers go through the roof,” Tacopina said about the fundraising number for Trump’s re-election campaign.

In Georgia, Trump is facing another legal battle over election fraud in his called with current Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger that recorded claiming he won over 10,000 votes in the 2020 election. Trump had ordered Raffensperger to find the missing votes.

The Georgia grand jury last over eight months after hearing a testimony from 75 witnesses. Fulton County DA Fani Willis is considering conspiracy and racketeering charges as she is using the RICO Act. 

“The reason that I am a fan of RICO is, I think jurors are very, very intelligent,” Willis said at a news conference about a broad gang-related indictment over the summer of 2022. “They want to know what happened. They want to make an accurate decision about someone’s life. And so RICO is a tool that allows a prosecutor’s office and law enforcement to tell the whole story.” 

The presiding judge for the 2020 election interference in Georgia has ordered Willis to respond to Trump’s motion to throughout a report by the special grand jury. A spokesperson for Willis’ state they are currently responding through its court filings.

All questions of his legal woes will end up in questions of the voters in 2024 as he is the frontrunner for the GOP nomination against rivals Ron DeSantis, who has yet to make announcement, and Nikki Haley, who is currently in the race.

Produced in association with Benzinga

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