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Trump's indictment in Miami puts him on favorable ground

Trump's claims of political persecution are bound to resonate with the inhabitants of Miami, where Cuban-Americans make up a substantial portion of the population.

Published: June 9, 2023 12:43am

Former President Donald Trump informed the public Thursday evening that he had been summoned to face arraignment next week at the Miami federal courthouse, in presumed connection with special counsel Jack Smith's investigation into his handling of classified materials.

Though Trump, now the front-running 2024 GOP presidential candidate, has insisted the case is a political witch hunt and the product of a partisan and weaponized justice system, the venue of the case offers Trump some advantages in defending himself.

Miami is home to many Cubans who fled the communist nation to escape political persecution there and who may sympathize with Trump's claim that he is being targeted and who are potential jurors.

"The corrupt Biden Administration has informed my attorneys that I have been Indicted, seemingly over the Boxes Hoax," he said late Thursday on Truth Social. "I have been summoned to appear at the Federal Courthouse in Miami on Tuesday, at 3 PM."

"Boxes hoax" refers to the FBI's August 2022 raid on Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida seeking classified materials the former president may have taken from the White House upon his departure. Prior to the raid, Trump voluntarily cooperated with a grand jury subpoena and surrendered documents to the bureau.

The DOJ has not unsealed the indictment, and the exact nature of the charges remains unclear. However, news outlets report the indictment has seven criminal counts including ones on allegedly making false statements and conspiracy to obstruct. 

The indictment follows revelation in just the past several days that Smith is using a second grand jury in Miami to gather new evidence. He has been using a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C. But that panel hasn’t been observed meeting since early May, according to NBC News.

The indictment also marks the second criminal case brought against Trump after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg brought charges against him in connection with a 2016 payment his then-personal attorney, Michael Cohen, made to Stormy Daniels. Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 counts in that case.

It is not all bad news for Trump, however, as Just the News has learned that U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon will handle the presidential document case.

Cannon, a Trump appointee, previously handled the Trump legal team's request to appoint a special master to independently review the materials the FBI seized and halted the DOJ's own review at his request.

Though her decision to appoint a special master and bar the DOJ review was overturned by a higher court, her past decisions indicate some skepticism of the DOJ's arguments surrounding the matter and her position may prove a boon to the former president.

Moreover, Trump's claims of political persecution are bound to resonate with the inhabitants of Miami, where Cuban-Americans make up a substantial portion of the population.

Cuban migration to the city picked up considerably after the 1959 Cuban Revolution during which communist rebels under Fidel Castro overthrew the government of President Fulgencio Batista. Hundreds of thousands of Cubans fled the Caribbean nation in the wake of that regime change. Many more have done so in subsequent decades motivated by a desire to escape political persecution and to improve their economic standing.

Cuban voters generally lean Republican to a far greater degree than to Hispanic Americans of other national backgrounds. In 2020, 58% of Cuban registered voters said they affiliated with or leaned toward the GOP, according to the Pew Research Center. By contrast, just 32% of non-Cuban Hispanics did so at the time. Miami-Dade County, moreover, has shifted Republican in recent years. Trump took 46.1% of the vote in that county during the 2020 contest. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis won reelection 2022 with the support of 55.3% of the county's voters.

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, himself of Cuban heritage, backed Trump's assertions of political persecution in a Thursday tweet, saying "[t]here is no limit to what these people will do to protect their power & destroy those who threaten it, even if it means ripping our country apart & shredding public faith in the institutions that hold our republic together."

While by no means an unbreakable bulwark against the DOJ case, the venue provides Trump with the prospect of a favorable, or at least more even-handed jury, than he might receive in a municipality skewed more against him such as New York City, where Bragg is pursuing his case.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.

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