Cell phones, cameras, and all electronic devices are banned from the Miami courtroom where former president Donald Trump was arraigned on Tuesday, so reporters briefed after the arraignment.
Trump pleaded not guilty to the 37 federal indictment charges and then departed the courthouse in a motorcade, stopping off at the Miami cafe Versailles in order to greet supporters, as one does after being accused of putting U.S. military lives at risk.
One point of interest is how the defendant was referenced in court. In the charges filed in Manhattan, the judge referred to Trump as “the defendant” or “Mr. Trump,” but in the Florida federal charges, the judge referred to Trump as “former President Trump.”
CBS News Congressional reporter Seth MacFarlane reported:
Judge Jonathan Goodman referred to Trump as “Former President Trump”…., Trump sat with arms folded and no expression on his face
Trump does not have to surrender passport. Trump can still travel internationally. No limitations on Trump travel. There’ll be a list of witnesses with whom Trump can’t speak about the case
Manhattan courthouse – Bare bones, smallish courtroom. Judge called him “Mr Trump” or “defendant”. Alvin Bragg in front row
Miami federal court – Huge, ceremonial courtroom. Packed. Judge called him “Former President Trump”. Jack Smith in front row
The judge who used “former President Trump” is Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman, who handled Trump’s arraignment on the 37 federal counts. Judge Aileen Cannon will remain the lead judge in the national defense documents case, even though it’s widely thought that she should recuse herself based on the rule that a judge shall recuse if they can’t appear to be impartial.
The reason this stands out is that Judge Cannon made it clear in a previous but related classified documents case that Trump deserved special treatment because he is a former president, “As a function of plaintiff’s former position as president of the United States… the stigma associated with the subject seizure is in a league of its own.”
The rule of law is supposed to apply to everyone equally, which is the opposite of Cannon’s understanding in the above quote. Cannon was appointed by Donald Trump after he lost the 2020 election.
Three conservative judges from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rebuked Judge Cannon for her unlawful ruling in the previous case, while overruling her.
The importance of how a person is addressed in the media and in the courtroom can’t be overstated, as Trump himself knows, which is why he invokes the office of the president in shady ways like calling his plane “Trump Force One” to sound like to “Air Force One,” among other staging decisions made to invoke the office he no longer holds.
Many in the media refer to Trump as “Mr. President” “President Trump” and “the Presidential motorcade” (a comment made on Monday about vehicles surrounding his plane), which is not appropriate given that we have a sitting President of the United States right now. Furthermore, Donald Trump is a criminal defendant facing serious charges of putting the United States’ national security and its military at risk.
While in the media, he is referred to as “former President Donald Trump,” Emily Post says, “When addressing a former President of the United States in a formal setting, the correct form is “Mr. LastName,” pointing out that “President LastName” or “Mr. President” are terms reserved for the current head of state.
It is important not to allow Trump to misappropriate the presidential title because he denies losing an election and tried to overthrow the government in order to stay in office.
As Donald Trump faces criminal charges, it is very important to accurately reflect the fact that he is not the sitting president. The Judge has done this, but the concern is that by referring to his status this way, the court might be inclined to once again treat Trump as if he were entitled to special treatment.
The Southern Florida court does not appear to be managing Trump as tightly so far as the Manhattan court did.
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