Federal prosecutors have issued subpoenas to multiple witnesses to testify before a previously undisclosed grand jury in Florida regarding the criminal investigation into Donald Trump’s handling of national security materials and obstruction of justice, according to sources familiar with the matter.
As reported by The Guardian, this recent development at the US District Court in Miami adds another layer of complexity to the ongoing investigation into the former president’s actions.
The new grand jury activity in Florida signals a shift in the investigation’s focus.
One of the witnesses scheduled to testify before the Florida grand jury is Trump aide Taylor Budowich. The questioning will be led by Jay Bratt, the Department of Justice’s counterintelligence chief assigned to special counsel Jack Smith’s team, which is spearheading the investigation.
Bratt’s involvement, previously undisclosed, suggests that the questioning might center on potential violations of the Espionage Act. Of particular interest is whether Trump displayed national security documents to individuals at his Mar-a-Lago resort, which has become a recent focal point of the investigation.
Bratt, observed arriving in Miami on Tuesday, has previously participated in grand jury proceedings related to the espionage aspect of the investigation, distinct from the obstruction aspect typically handled by other prosecutors and national security trial attorneys under Smith’s supervision.
Ideally, prosecutors would prefer to file charges in Washington, where the district court judges possess more experience in handling national security cases.
The selection of grand juries depends on where prosecutors believe the alleged crime occurred. In this instance, it is plausible that prosecutors have uncovered evidence of criminal activity specifically at Mar-a-Lago, which falls within the jurisdiction of the Southern District of Florida.
Regarding the investigation into Trump’s potential retention of national security material, prosecutors may have concluded that he was still president when the classified documents were moved to Mar-a-Lago, suggesting that his “unlawful possession” began in Florida.
If both the Florida and Washington grand juries are active, it suggests that prosecutors are contemplating charges in both jurisdictions against the same targets.