How Trump Clouded Journalists’ Heads about Surveillance Video

In a story demoting Trump’s alleged co-conspirators to “minor characters” and omitting Yuscil Taveras’ reference to “the supervisor of security for TRUMP’s business organization” who could provide him the rights allowing him to delete security footage, NYT states as fact that Trump’s corporate person did turn over the surveillance tapes.

The Trump Organization ultimately turned over the surveillance tapes, and the indictment does not accuse any Mar-a-Lago employees of destroying the footage.

Until I noted it, NYT also reported that Taveras said he didn’t have the “right,” as opposed to “rights” to do so.

NYT is not the only outlet making this conclusion, noting that prosecutors obtained video and so concluding that Trump must have turned it over.

Such conclusions are wildly premature.

Trump, certainly, is making the claim.

But Trump’s tweet includes one demonstrable falsehood: any video turned over was compelled via subpoena, not handed over voluntarily (this repeats a false claim Trump made last summer about voluntarily turning over early tranches of documents). And Trump’s claim that he “never told anybody to delete them” conflicts with Taveras’ testimony about Carlos De Oliveira’s instruction, that “‘the boss’ wanted the server deleted.”

So, even ignoring he’s a pathological liar, there’s no reason we should credit Trump’s claim the tapes (at least some parts of them) were not deleted.

It is true that the current indictment does not yet charge Trump and his corporate person with deleting video. It is also true that the indictment stops at 3:55PM on June 27, 2022, more than a week before some surveillance footage was turned over on July 6, 2022. We only know part of what happened during the first five days after Trump Org was alerted to the subpoena. That leaves a lot of time for shenanigans.

There’s a lot of this story that prosecutors have not yet told.

Even in what prosecutors have revealed so far, it is clear Trump’s initial subpoena response fell short of complying with the subpoena, though there may be reasonable explanations for that. DOJ had subpoenaed five months of footage, from January 10 through the date of subpoena, June 24 (which would have captured the days leading up to Trump’s return of 15 boxes in January 2022). But Trump Org only provided footage from April 23 through June 24.

That’s a curious length of time: 62 days. It suggests Trump Org normally deletes surveillance footage after 60 days, not the 45 days Taveras believed they kept. But if that’s the case, to have 62 days of footage, Trump Org started preserving footage when Jay Bratt first alerted them to the subpoena on June 22. Importantly, if Trump Org’s surveillance footage is automatically written over after 60 days, then someone would have had to take action to start preserving it on June 22 for April 23 and 24 to have been included. That action would have happened before (at least as portrayed in the superseding indictment) anyone spoke to Taveras at Mar-a-Lago. Probably, then, that action occurred in New York.

More suspect is Trump’s failure to provide video footage of all the locations subpoenaed.

There’s a redaction in the citation of the subpoena in the warrant affidavit where it describes the locations requested.

It was never clear before last week whether the redaction hid another subpoenaed location. But the superseding indictment describes that the subpoena asked for footage from “certain locations,” plural, one of which was the basement hallway.

The search affidavit describes that the disk provided on July 6 included footage only from four cameras in the basement hallway. Here, too, though, there could be a reasonable explanation: it may be Mar-a-Lago simply didn’t have cameras in the other requested positions. There’s another redaction in the search affidavit that might provide that explanation.

Certainly, when Walt Nauta and De Oliveira scouted out surveillance cameras with a flashlight on June 25, they’re only described as doing so in the basement hallway.

Many outlets are concluding that Trump Org must have turned over everything from that hallway since the search affidavit relied heavily on security footage to describe Nauta (then referred to as Witness 5) moving in and out of the storage room. But even that may overstate things. As I noted, there’s one movement of boxes that appears in the indictment but does not appear in the search affidavit: When Nauta entered the storage room on May 22, spent 34 minutes in there, and then left carrying a single box.

53. On May 22, 2022, NAUTA entered the Storage Room at 3:47 p.m. and left approximately 34 minutes later, carrying one of TRUMP’s boxes.

This is not proof that the footage wasn’t on the disk turned over on July 6. Perhaps the FBI wasn’t all that interested in this single box retrieval and so didn’t include it in the search affidavit. But it is a piece of footage the prosecutors may have obtained later, perhaps via other means.

This was only the first subpoena for video, however. Earlier this year, CNN described follow-up subpoenas after the August search, followed later by a preservation request before De Oliveira flooded the server room in October. The second subpoena, which may have been an attempt to learn when and how the remainder of the boxes were moved back into the storage closet, where they were found on August 8, might have obtained the footage of De Oliveira and Nauta scouting out the surveillance cameras. Once the FBI saw that, I’m sure they scrutinized what they had obtained far more closely, if they hadn’t already.

But there must be more than that: some weeks ago, the defense said they had received “approximately nine months” of surveillance footage.

The initial production also included some 57 terabytes of compressed raw CCTV footage (so far there is approximately nine months of CCTV footage, but the final number is not yet certain).

If DOJ never got footage before April, they may have footage from some part of every month through December, when the last known search occurred (and if DOJ got a video of the search conducted at Bedminster, it may explain why the FBI hasn’t conducted their own search).

Importantly, defense attorneys don’t know how much surveillance footage they’ll eventually get. If all of it was coming from Trump Org, they would. (Though even the superseding indictment appears to rely on surveillance footage, capturing Nauta and De Oliveira in bushes just off Mar-a-Lago property, that could have come from a neighboring property owner.)

That’s why NYT’s earlier reporting may indicate that Trump Org didn’t “ultimately turn[] over all the surveillance tapes.” As NYT reported in May, DOJ also subpoenaed the software company that handles Trump’s surveillance footage.

But hoping to understand why some of the footage from the storage camera appears to be missing or unavailable — and whether that was a technological issue or something else — the prosecutors subpoenaed the software company that handles all of the surveillance footage for the Trump Organization, including at Mar-a-Lago.

Once DOJ identified suspected gaps they would do what DOJ does in all criminal investigations: find another source.

Especially when dealing with an entity, Trump Org, that in recent years had what the Senate Intelligence Committee described as “known deficiencies in [] document responses.”

When SSCI subpoenaed Trump Org for any documents showing ties between the campaign and Russia in 2016, Trump’s corporate person didn’t turn over everything. For example, they didn’t turn over (to Congress at least) an email from Paul Manafort describing how to “secure the victory,” predicting that Hillary “would respond to a loss by ‘mov[ing] immediately to discredit the [Trump] victory and claim voter fraud and cyber-fraud, including the claim that the Russians have hacked into the voting machines and tampered with the results'” — precisely the strategy Trump used in 2020, albeit with the true statement that Russia was tampering with election facilities, though not the vote tallies.

I keep coming back to this, but one of those deficiencies — one of the things Trump Org didn’t provide in 2017, at least to the two congressional committees investigating Trump’s ties to Russia — were the emails showing that Michael Cohen directly contacted the Kremlin in January 2016 and got a response from Dmitri Peskov’s assistant. Mueller got a copy of it, though. He cited it in the report.

On January 20, 2016, Cohen received an email from Elena Poliakova, Peskov’s personal assistant. Writing from her personal email account, Poliakova stated that she had been trying to reach Cohen and asked that he call her on the personal number that she provided.350

There’s a ready explanation for how Mueller got an email showing that Trump’s fixer was in direct contact with the Kremlin during the election when it wasn’t included in Trump Org’s subpoena responses, at least to Congress: because on August 1, 2017, Mueller obtained Cohen’s Trump Org emails using a warrant served on Microsoft.

At least in 2017, as laid out in the warrant affidavit, Microsoft was the enterprise provider for Trump Org’s email.

55. On or about July 20,2017 and again on or about July 25, 2017, in response to a grand jury subpoena, Microsoft confirmed that the Target Account was an active account associated with the domain Microsoft also provided records indicating that email accounts associated with the domain “” are being operated on a Microsoft Exchange server. According to publicly available information on Microsoft’s website, Microsoft hosts emails for clients on Microsoft Exchange servers, while allowing customers to use their own domain (as opposed to the publicly available email domains supplied by Microsoft, such as According to information supplied by Microsoft, the domain continues to operate approximately 150 active email accounts through Microsoft Exchange, meaning that data associated with still exists on Microsoft’s servers.

That meant that, even though Trump Org didn’t turn over those damning emails (and Cohen testified to Congress as if they didn’t exist), Mueller got a copy anyway from the vendor, Microsoft, providing the cloud services to Trump Org.

The same may have happened with Trump’s surveillance footage: DOJ went to a cloud provider to obtain their version of it, without any gaps.

That warrant was, in part, a Foreign Agent warrant, so people in DOJ’s National Security Division working with Jay Bratt likely would have had a heads up. Bratt and Julie Edelstein, both on this investigative team, may well remember Trump Org’s recent, “known deficiencies in [] document responses,” and so knew to look for another source.

If that happened, then Nauta and De Oliveira may have initially testified believing certain events weren’t on surveillance footage turned over to DOJ when DOJ actually had such footage, just like Michael Cohen testified to Congress (and initially, to Mueller) as if those emails didn’t exist.

Here’s a point I keep coming back to. The surveillance footage turned over on July 6 had really damning footage: showing Nauta first emptying then half refilling the storage room. That footage, showing Trump withholding documents from Evan Corcoran’s search, was central to DOJ’s probable cause to obtain the warrant to search Trump’s beach resort on August 8.

If there are or were gaps, they served to hide something still more damning than proof that Trump was playing a shell game with his own attorney.

What we know (and Jay Bratt and Julie Edelstein likely knew when they started this investigation) is that in 2017 during the Russian investigation, all the known “deficiencies in [] document responses” in Trump Org’s subpoena compliance pertained to precisely the thing investigators most feared they would find: Direct ties between Trump and Russia.

Which undoubtedly would have made them all the more determined to fill any real or perceived gaps in Trump Org’s production of surveillance video.

Update: The government reveals it was still obtaining surveillance until recently, pointing to both footage obtained with an April 27 subpoena and footage — it doesn’t say from where — after the June 8 indictment.

Included in Production 3 is additional CCTV footage from The Mar-a-Lago Club that the Government obtained from the Trump Organization on May 9 and May 12, 2023, in response to a grand jury subpoena served on April 27. On July 27, as part of the preparation for the superseding indictment coming later that day and the discovery production for Defendant De Oliveira, the Government learned that this footage had not been processed and uploaded to the platform established for the defense to view the subpoenaed footage. The Government’s representation at the July 18 hearing that all surveillance footage the Government had obtained pre-indictment had been produced was therefore incorrect. See 7/18/2023 Tr. at 8. With this production, which also contains CCTV footage obtained after the original indictment was returned that pertains to the new obstruction allegations in the superseding indictment, the Government has produced all the CCTV footage it obtained during its investigation.

And if there’s a non-public grand jury, then Trump knows about it.

With the completion of Production 3, the Government has also now disclosed all unclassified memorialization of witness interviews finalized by today’s date and all grand jury transcripts in the Government’s possession.

172 replies
    • BRUCE F COLE says:

      John Irving is representing him; he also represents Navarro and Stephen Miller, as well as Scott Perry who may be on the hook for PA’s fake electors scam.

        • BRUCE F COLE says:

          “Trump’s PAC paid $189,040 in 2022 to the law firm where De Oliveira’s lawyer, John Irving, is a partner. Irving isn’t representing De Oliveira alone, and some of that money may be related to other clients. Irving has been reported to represent several others close to Trump, including Peter Navarro, Stephen Miller, GOP Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, and may have other witnesses as clients. When contacted by NBC News, Irving declined to comment about De Oliveira’s indictment or his representation.”

          Certainly the figures on the Trump-affiliated-counsel marry go round aren’t statically set — not to say that the NBC *reporting of reporting* about his clientele should be taken as gospel!

          LOL, I just noticed that I misspelled merry go round, but I’m leaving it because it somehow works…although shackles are more appropriate than wedding bands, as some of these lawyers will find out!

        • BRUCE F COLE says:

          Here’s a WaPo story from two months ago, 10 days before the first FL indictment was released:

          In it, Irving is quoted as the lawyer (before identities were known) of “one of the two employees who moved the boxes.” This is interesting given the evolution of the case so far:

          “John Irving, a lawyer representing one of the two employees who moved the boxes, said the worker did not know what was in them and was only trying to help Trump valet Walt Nauta, who was using a dolly or hand truck to move a number of boxes.

          “He was seen on Mar-a-Lago security video helping Walt Nauta move boxes into a storage area on June 2, 2022. My client saw Mr. Nauta moving the boxes and volunteered to help him,” Irving said. The next day, he added, the employee helped Nauta pack an SUV “when former president Trump left for Bedminster for the summer.”

          The lawyer said his client, a longtime Mar-a-Lago employee whom he declined to identify, has cooperated with the government and did not have “any reason to think that helping to move boxes was at all significant.” Other people familiar with the investigation confirmed the employee’s role and said he has been questioned multiple times by authorities.”

          So, at that point, Irving was actually sheilding De Oliveira from Nauta’s complicity and touting his cooperation with the investigation.

          Tricky situation, no? IOW, isn’t he in the bind of having to say his client lied to him?

      • David F. Snyder says:

        Is Irving licensed to practice in Florida? My I’mpression from the article is that he is not.

        • bmaz says:

          No, but is not that hard to get jumped onto a federal court if you are already a member in good standing. another district.

        • Sheesh49 says:

          It doesn’t take 2 weeks to be admitted “pro has vice”–the Judge can rule on the petition from the bench.

          [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username AND EMAIL ADDRESS each time you comment so that community members get to know you. You used a different email address on this comment than your last which triggers moderation to screen for possible spoofing of another user’s name. Thanks. /~Rayne]

        • bmaz says:

          Sure, that is true. One of the judges (it may well been Cannon) this ever burgeoning Trump prosecutions has already done that by my recollection.

        • BRUCE F COLE says:

          What about CIPA clearances (though I understand that’s not necessary for pretrial proceedings)?

        • bmaz says:

          Yes, pay attention to the news. And it started as soon as Willis took office and continues to this very date with Willis glibly sayin “we are ready”.

        • David F. Snyder says:

          So what then of the need for a local counsel to vouch for the pro hac vice attorney? Since this is a federal case, does that preclude this generally usual requirement?

        • bmaz says:

          Not in the least, those are the requirement pretty much every court. not only does the court want somebody local to vouch, they very much want a local contact for emergencies

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Apologies if this is redundant. One comment seems to have gone missing, I deleted another for an incorrect login.

          We went through this the last time Trump had a case before Judge Cannon. You need a locally admitted attorney, regardless of how many others on your team are admitted PHV. The court needs someone who knows and is responsible for following local rules and procedures – like making the correct form of computer filings – and to hold to account when they aren’t followed.

          The local lawyer may not determine strategy and tactics, but they’re still in the hot seat if they want to continue to practice in that jurisdiction.

        • Robot-seventeen says:

          And if Irving flies the coup the local guy/gal is on the hook? If so, I can imagine why this is not the most attractive gig to take.

        • BRUCE F COLE says:

          From that article, another Irving de facto no-comment:
          ” ‘Unfortunately the Justice Department decided to file these charges against Mr. De Oliveira’ he said, ‘and now they have to put their money where their mouth is.’ ”

          Not exactly a “My client stridently denies all these charges!” kinda statement, but hey, De O. hasn’t been able to enter a plea yet because of the lack of lawyers flocking to his case.~

          I’m sure Irving has a rolodex full of FL firms who’ve called him since his service to Employee #4 was made public a couple weeks before the first tranche of charges came down, begging to join the team for the glory alone! FL is teeming with Family Practice advocates who are jonesing for a break to shine in the Trump Mouthpiece Brigade.~

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I believe the local rules still require that representation include someone working and admitted locally, even if supplemented by foreign attorneys admitted PHV.

        • emptywheel says:

          Correct. And the FL attorneys are on the hook for the duration. If Woodward is conflicted off Nauta can’t say he doesn’t have cleared counsel. He’ll have the family lawyer.

        • BRUCE F COLE says:

          No, he’s actually made statements that De Oliveira is currently looking for FL representation.

  1. BRUCE F COLE says:

    Predictability is Trump’s achilles heel and, not coinicidentally, a prominent feature of his psychopathy.

  2. Zirczirc says:

    “they served to hide something still more damning than proof that Trump was playing a shell game with his own attorney.” — Which leads to the question: “What could be more damning?” Not too many things shy of going in there with someone whose identity you want to hide. Nah! Couldn’t be that. The gaps in the record invite me to go places I have no business going without evidence, but geez, what could be more damning?

      • Peterr says:

        And Trump likely believes that they are part of the Deep State who would only serve to get him/his friends convicted.

        • RipNoLonger says:

          That’s precisely why trump doesn’t want qualified public defenders – because they would see through his lies and not be susceptible to bribery and threats.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          That’s why Trump wouldn’t want those whose loyalty he’s buying to use FPDs.

        • Drew in Bronx says:

          A competent defense attorney, calmly laying out the alternatives available to a client, including the probable outcomes of each, could end up putting Trump into a lot of jeopardy, since cooperating or negotiating a plea are always among those alternatives.

  3. WilliamOckham says:

    In my experience, file retention policies are written in two distinct ways. The first says “these files will be retained for {defined period of time}. The second says “these files will be retained for only {defined period of time}. The difference is that IT will only set up a routine to delete files regularly if you have the second policy. If you have the first policy, there will almost always be some files available that weren’t required to be retained.

    I have administered a system that required files to be deleted at a specified age. It is much harder than people think, although if you use a public cloud provider (e.g. Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, etc.) it is a whole lot easier. In a traditional data center, you have to segregate the files to their own storage, have a separate disaster recovery process, etc.

    Based on the public evidence so far, I’d bet that Trump Org’s policy was the first type. And it would not surprise me at all if what was provided to Trump Org by their vendor in July 2022 was a subset of what the vendor provided to the feds when the vendor was subpoenaed directly. I’m not saying that’s a sure thing, just that it would not be unusual. Imagine that being Donald Trump and not knowing if the feds have surveillance video from Jan 2022.

    • emptywheel says:

      So would someone have had to take action? Or do I need to correct the above?

      Their vendor almost certainly didn’t have anything back through Jan 2022: Otherwise we’d get more exactitude about that curation process. Instead, DOJ relies on the texts between Nauta and Molly Michael.

      • IainUlysses says:

        I’ve administered customers with similar requirements. Plenty of enterprises are gun shy about retaining things for longer than they have to, at least the ones I’ve interacted with are, but I agree with ~WilliamOckham it’s tough in practice to make it happen perfectly. Even with the cloud providers.

        I can set, for example, an Azure Storage Account to delete any blob older than X days. In an AWS S3 bucket you can do the same. It would be automatic. That only applies if they’re uploading to cloud as they go. I’d expect that to be true, but Trump is notoriously cheap, so who knows.

        Changing those settings would create a log trail, which will have their own retention period. So if our hypothetical conspirator realized that it *wasn’t* set they could go set the retention period, but there would be a record. There are ways around this, and an IT person planning to be unscrupulous could keep a method in their back pocket to reduce the likelihood of being caught.

        In an ideal enterprise system the people that could delete the data are separate from the people who control the logs and alerts that detect that deletion, but that’s hard to do perfectly as well, and usually isn’t.

        There’s a lot of “it depends” going on, I’m afraid.

        • RitaRita says:

          My hypothesis is that Trump, perhaps with the aid of the Calimari’s, was teeing up Tavares to be the inadvertent Rose Mary Woods. Their plan was frustrated by an employee who actually followed protocol.

        • RipNoLonger says:

          Isn’t trump teeing-up anyone to be the fall guy/gal?

          Gotta feel a bit of hurt thinking about Rose Mary Woods back in the days. I was barely in my teens when it happened and she was made to show how she “inadvertently” erased 18 minutes of tape. All the while knowing that the rich powerful guys were going to blame her.

      • BuffaloNick says:

        It is unlikely anyone would take action manually. This 60 day limit is likely a simple UI choice e.g.Customer deletes the files from their portal, malicious employee or some other reason. In this case likely customer support could just quickly revert without even having to go to backups.
        It could also be noone actually deleted data from the vendor and the vendor would likely have a policy to retain the data for X days in case a mistake was made by the customer and the vendor has a policy that customers can store X amount of days and then it is cycled off. In either case it would not make sense to have a manual intervention in the form of some IT worker logging in and deleting customers files as they tick over to 61 days.

      • WilliamOckham says:

        You’re probably right that someone took action on the June 22, 2022 (which was a Friday). In this case, the most likely scenario is that the retention period is 2 months (not a fixed number of days). The lawyer who got the email message on the 22nd would have contacted the IT department and told them to stop running the deletion job. The June 22nd job would have already run (deleting the files from April 22nd). IT stops the job from running and the files accumulate from April 23, 2022, until the DOJ tells them it’s ok to start deleting them again.

    • RitaRita says:

      A well-drafted record retention policy avoids (for the most part) claims that files were deleted in anticipation of litigation. And any prudent vendor would want to see the record retention policy. And follow it, absent written request to do otherwise. One of the pitfalls of outsourcing.

    • EuroTark says:

      Everything you say sounds reasonable. I regularly interact with projects that need to delete their data at a second date, and the most common solution is to have all the data (and work related to it) inside an encrypted environment, and make sure the backups are encrypted as well. That way you only need to delete the encryption key securely.

    • CaptMike says:

      Local retention of camera footage often follows a slightly different policy. The hard drive (array) is sized to hold an anticipated 2 weeks / 1 month / 2 months footage. Then camera footage is captured until the drive is full, at which time it starts overwriting the oldest captures. The actual retention time will depend on a few things, but varying amounts of motion detection has the biggest effect. A system at seasonal venue might have somewhere around 30 days retention in season, but 70 days off season.

      [Last posted long long ago, doubt any of name, email, or ip are current, if they are it’s not intentional sock puppetry]

      [Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum. At least we’ll treat your name change as such since I can’t find a corresponding record which sheds light on your past username. Please stick with the same username and email here forward. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • farmfresh says:

      Wouldn’t it be plausible, if not likely, that DOJ would have known at the time of any Trump Org / vendor subpoenas exactly what kind of security camera system MaL has, and exactly what the retention policy is, and all exact camera locations and coverage? Trump was and is a secret service protectee and it seems unfathomable that secret service doesn’t have that information or maybe even access to the system themselves.

      DOJ would know exactly what wasn’t produced because they would know exactly what should have been available.

      Would anyone even know if secret service had been served with a subpoena or a records request?

  4. Rayne says:


    More misleading language like the mythological “single server,” using the word “tapes” in reference to video which was surely saved to a disc and streamed to storage.

    Also very specific as to the location calling out Mar-a-Lago. What other surveillance materials at what other locations have been tampered with to avoid incrimination?

    • 0Alexander Platt0 says:

      I’m not sure I believe Trump carefully parses out words and semantics or tries to walk a fine line between truth and lies. He has a 1980s mental image of technology and will spout whatever denial/affirmation he thinks scores him points.

      My reading, anyway.

        • BobBobCon says:

          He stayed in the casino business well into the digital recording age, and I’m guessing he has a reasonably detailed understanding of data storage.

          Definitely not at the admin level, but highly likely his knowledge is detailed enough to know the cameras are sending digital data to servers and the difference between storing it locally or remotely.

          I wouldn’t be suprised if he’s dealt with security recordings in the recent past in other contexts, like employee theft or lawsuits over customer injuries. He knows more than most people think.

        • P J Evans says:

          He “doesn’t use email” but he has no problem with social media. I’m not sure his grasp of technology has advanced since the 80s.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          The difference isn’t just about the technology. For Trump, social media is a one-way marketing tool. He uses it to raise money, to stay in the public eye, and to attack his critics.

          E-mail is a different thing. He can’t control what the recipient does with his comms, where and how many copies are made and for how long they’re kept, etc.

        • Shadowalker says:

          He wasn’t that involved. Back in 1995 when the banks threatened to recall their loans they got an agreement that he would sell certain assets as well as not acquire new toys till his business was on sounder footing. Later he sold stock and paid off the loans and had his personal guarantee on the loans released. In some cases his casinos actually turned a small profit, but instead of investing the profits back into the casino, he went on a buying spree and overspent whatever profit there was which invariably led to him to declare bankruptcy.

        • BobBobCon says:

          While it’s true that Trump’s casino business had overlapping functions on both the investment/real estate side and the operations side, he was still involved as CEO on the operations side until 2005.

          And for that matter, much of the same issues with surveilance cameras for casinos are there for large hospitality locations too, and he’s been active in the management of some of his properties to the present day.

          There is no way he knows exactly how servers work or are administered. But people are nuts if they think he’s totally clueless.

          For any big threatened lawsuit — and the threats come up all the time in his businesses — the questions of recordings come up quickly. He may not know specific security protocols, but he will know what systems are like in general, what their capabilities are, and where the holes are. This will not be the first time he’s dealt with issues like retention periods and backups.

        • jdmckay8 says:

          Trump would not have needed to ask many questions along the way to find out whatever he wanted to know. I would not be surprised if Smith’s team asked the Calamaris about this.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Donal Trump thinks Roy Cohn was the best lawyer ever. He’s always been afraid of how incriminating any of his records might be. And he’s a cheap sod. That would be my lens in viewing how he created and kept any of the records.

          Trump might have five hundred or more legal entities, but, despite his protestations, he’s the only real decision maker – and the only “boss.”

      • Bugboy321 says:

        That’s why Trump so diligently mentions “no collusion” in a gazillion places, because the term “collusion” does not exist in any criminal statute, right?

    • Fancy Chicken says:

      I think Trump has no idea what he’s talking about when it comes to technology. This is the guy who claimed his “wires were tapped” and couldn’t wrap his mind around the fact that the DNC had their servers forensically imaged insisting the only way to “see” a disk image is to actually have the physical server in hand; hence why he asked Zelenskyy to find the DNC server in Ukraine.

      Hence why he asked his minions to “delete the server”- in his mind the black box near the monitor, not thinking about cloud capture. Also why he prolly tried to have De Oliveira flood the IT room in hopes of damaging the black box.

      I’m also glad to see NYT (and other MSM is guilty of it too) getting called out for stating in the same article that the CCTV footage was subpoenaed yet Trump “voluntarily” handed it over. He’s pulled this canard so many times in this investigation I can’t believe media is falling for it, again. Will they never learn?

      • Rayne says:

        couldn’t wrap his mind around the fact that the DNC had their servers forensically imaged insisting the only way to “see” a disk image is to actually have the physical server in hand

        Believing this is the only possibility allows his disinformation to spread without check among those who don’t understand how the perverted narrative works among those incapable of questioning what he says. There’s a very strong possibility Trump was instructed to demand the “single server” after meeting Putin in Helsinki. It’s just as likely he was encouraged to lean into talking about “Mar-a-Lago security tapes” to redirect attention from his instruction to delete a server’s contents.

        • Fancy Chicken says:

          You’ve just given me the best answer I’ve ever heard for what went down at Helsinki Rayne!

          I can believe it’s something Putin would feed him the idea of, but when dealing with tech I still think Trump is as clueless as the rubes he’s trying to sell his narrative too. He’s gotten to saying that Clinton’s private server was “acid washed” like a pair of jeans from the early 90’s. But while I may disagree on the fine point of an 77 year old Florida man’s understanding of tech, I agree wholeheartedly that it’s effects, intended of from misinformation and a lack of understanding, still has an insidious effect.

          I’m much more concerned about his statements that he “voluntarily” gave CCTV footage he was subpoenaed for. I don’t think his lies are at all subtle nor his legal team’s..

    • Buzzkill Stickinthemud says:


      Precision requires a little time and thought. Why bother being precise when inexactitude is near instantaneous?

      Also, “delete the server” is an inexact phrase. He might as well said “delete the stuff on the thingy”.

      • Purple Martin says:

        Heck, given his pride in his letter from Nixon, he probably told Walt, “Erase the Tapes!

      • ExRacerX says:

        “Delete the stuff on the thingy” is far more general & vaguer—it could even refer to a case of genital warts on his mushroom, f’instance… ; )

  5. KayKinMD says:

    Only slightly OT, as CNN is reporting, it looks like Yuscil Taveras DID receive a target letter, and, after getting assigned a deconfliction lawyer, DID decide to do himself some good.
    (I hope I’ve done the link correctly)

  6. BobBobCon says:

    I will bet at some point there will be a parallel effort at minimizing Trump’s role which will paint him as not having a grasp on the recording system, and any kind of obstruction would just be cluelessness.

    Considering his long run as a casino operator, I would guess he’s actually better versed than most reporters in why you have cameras, where you want them, how long you need to keep recordings, and who you’re keeping track of.

    I would not be surprised if it never occurs to political beat reporters and their editors to take a look at how his Atlantic City properties operated their systems. Even though those would have been in the days of actual tape, a lot of the principles would be the same. I’m sure he has a ton of experience in legal cases where law enforcement wanted recordings, as well as internal investigations to discover suspicious employee and public behavior.

    He’s not going to know the details of administrative rights and read/write access, but I suspect he’s pretty savvy on what recordings can show and the types of things he’d need to do to compromise their integrity.

    • BirdGardener says:

      Interesting points! I googled “ trump casino video cameras” and found some news articles and gov’t records (which I’ve only skimmed).

      2001, Trump casino cameras and facial recognition:

      2018, crime (inc. kidnapping/murder) at Taj Mahal Casino caught on video but the single security officer watching all the video feeds missed it:

      Martin Caballero’s family sued the Taj Mahal and its parent company, Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc., for negligence and infliction of emotional distress following this “wrongful death.” The case took nearly four years to wind its way through the courts. And then suddenly, on Wednesday, just before the trial was to begin, the two sides settled for an undisclosed sum.

      2021, Atlantic City Trump Plaza through the years, with several paragraphs & 2 photos of security office:

      2015, Taj Mahal Casino fined for significant anti-money laundering violations:

      2002, Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts cease & desist order from SEC (I didn’t see anything about video cameras but this came up early in the search returns and serves as another reminder of Trump’s business shenanigans):

      There were also a couple articles from 2017 about casinos in general having a gajillion video cameras but very few people monitoring them, so Trump’s casinos were not unusual in that.

      • William J Dyer says:

        Trump’s Atlantic City casinos kept his name long after the wash-and-rinse through bankruptcy court had left Carl Icahn and other bottom-fishers with all the equity. By the early 2000s he was out of management.

        If I recall correctly, during one of the bankruptcies, the trustee considered a request to take Trump’s name off the properties in order to rebrand them. A study concluded that the expense of doing so — because all the signage, linens, virtually anything in the properties that had been large enough to have Trump’s name on it, DID — would likely exceed the remaining net value of the consolidated bankrupt companies.

        I wonder whether surveillance cameras were used, or at least considered, in connection with “The Apprentice,” though?

        [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. You first commented as “BIll Dyer (aka Beldar)“; please pick a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters and use it consistently. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Peterr says:

      Considering the amount of success he had during his long run as a casino operator, I think you are being very generous. At best, Trump hired someone to set up and run the camera system, and then never gave a glance at the details. I can’t picture Trump getting into the weeds on this, any more than I can picture him wanting details on exactly how a construction crew joins two girders together while a building is going up. He just wants it done, and wants it done as cheaply as possible.

      • BobBobCon says:

        Any time a lawsuit is even threatened, let alone filed, one of the first questions in both casinos and hospitality is what do we have on tape (or now, on a server).

        And not just the incident, but the history of the person involved. Do we have tape of this customer being rowdy at any time during their past stays? Do we have recordings of everyone going to the storeroom where the liquor disappeared? If we need to go to court, can we prove these files are legit?

        And for that matter, if law enforcement or regulators came calling, there would have been questions about exposure to recordings being subpoenaed, and how long before we can stop worrying about them still being around.

        I’m not saying any of this was consistent or methodical.But when he feels threatened, he will learn what he needs to learn.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          One of the great frauds was the marketing campaign, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Throw caution to the winds, drink, spend money, have a good time and do whatever you want! LOL.

          In reality, Las Vegas is the most surveilled city in the country. Celebrities, casinos, money, the mob, crime, legal prostitution, sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll, a world-rated hospitality and convention center, global tourists, and general marketing might be among the reasons.

          I believe that’s true of gaming and casinos generally. The hospitality industry couldn’t be far behind. You can’t be in that business and not be familiar with more than the rudiments of surveillance and what it can be used for. And how quickly law enforcement will want their hands on it when the time comes.

          A guy as paranoid as Trump would know its opportunities and pitfalls, if not its technology.

        • paulka123 says:

          This whole discussion reminds me of something Trump said when the whole Russia tape controversy was happening. One defense he stated was he wouldn’t do it because he knew every Russian hotel was bugged with video cameras, which I took to mean every Trump hotel room was likewise bugged and videod.

        • Peterr says:

          Generally, this is true of gaming and casinos. Specifically, however, while Trump has a hotel in Vegas, it has no casino. All of Trump’s gaming experience came from his failed attempt to be the leader in making Atlantic City not just a rival to Vegas, but to outdo Vegas.

          And that wasn’t going to happen if Trump played by Vegas Rules.

          Trump’s schtick was to plate something in gold, declare it something the likes of which the world has never seen, and wait to rake in some cash from some wealthy rubes. The thing is, Vegas has some very good reasons for doing what it does — the kinds of things you and BobBobCon point out — and Trump looked at that and said “where can we cut some of the fat out?” Yes, he had to have some kind of security system, but I can’t imagine that Trump wanted to spend the money to get a state of the art system. “Let Vegas waste their money” was his motto about damn near everything. Everything he did in Atlantic City to set it up as their rival was done on the cheap, with plenty of smoke and mirrors.

          Yes, Vegas knows its camera systems. But Trump prided himself on *not* being a Vegas guy but their big rival, just like he helped set up the USFL as a rival to the NFL when the NFL wouldn’t let him in.

      • earthworm says:

        “I can’t picture Trump…”
        In the kinds of businesses Trump engaged in, I can’t picture Trump NOT wanting or needing to have the means to extort others, which would include wiretapping, video, and digital receipts.

    • Sambucus says:

      I actually work in the controls and security industry (almost 50 year now). I would not compare the casino stuff to what is common in the industry now. I don’t know the generation of the MAL stuff, but Casinos in Atlantic City back then would have been analog cameras and actual tape. For some time now, it’s IP cameras and DVR recording (really cloud streaming video currently). Point being, video was really hard to manage back in the day.

      • emptywheel says:

        Thanks. I hadn’t thought about the fact that Trump may have brought over casino practices. Or at least hospitality, which is Taveras’ background.

        • AgainBrain says:

          An earlier comment about the Secret Service having to secure MAL triggered a related question: Whether they (USSS) would have replaced or upgraded the existing surveillance systems once Trump was elected, and what would happen to that equipment after his Presidency?

          It feels likely answers to above result in a fairly modern, competent system at MAL, no?

        • Sambucus says:

          I would think yes. It is unlikely the Secret Service would have been OK with a primitive system

  7. Mike Stone says:

    I would think the Government would also very much wish to review as much of the video footage that was available since they need to do an assessment of the damages done on the intel information.

  8. Bobster33 says:

    Does Nauta have the security clearance to view all of the documents in Trump’s possession?

    • Peterr says:

      What bmaz said. There are *generals* who don’t have the right clearances to view those documents.

      You need both the appropriate level of security clearance (SECRET, TOP SECRET, etc.) and also the need to know about what’s in them. There are lots of folks with security clearances, but damn few who have a need to know about things like draft battle plans. Nauta, in his current role as valet to a former president, has no need to know a damn thing.

      And the same can be said of The Boss Nauta works for. He has no security clearance, and no legitimate need to know.

    • commonphoole says:

      Also beyond clearance you need “need to know”. His need to know is only deep enough to understand his legal situation. Whatever is disclosed to jury should be adequate for him as defendant.

      • Issaquah says:

        As a DoD civil servant with a SECRET clearance, I was instructed very early on about the difference between “need to know “ and “neat to know “

    • RipNoLonger says:

      And does Nauta (or even the lawyers) understand all of the text in these documents? Much of which would probably be very situationally-specific – not something taught in law school or to an ex Marine.

  9. Ginevra diBenci says:

    Not having seen this addressed yet, I’m going to assume it’s a stupid question. But I’ll ask anyway, since I really want to know: Trump and his co-defendants complain about “nine months” of security footage that they need to go through pre-trial. At first I chalked this up to multiple cameras at different locations.

    But the superseding indictment states that at least some of these cameras are motion-activated. Given the supposedly “secure” location in that basement hallway, wouldn’t this winnow down the amount of traffic and thus camera activation? I just don’t see how they get to nine months, even leaving possible gaps aside.

    • scroogemcduck says:

      The aim is delay, and the filing contains whatever can be claimed in furtherance of the aim, provided that it is not sanctionable.

    • emptywheel says:

      Prosecutors explained that while there may be footage from 9 months included, it is for specific days and places.

      That said, not all of it is motion-activated, so there is some footage that is 24/7.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Thank you, EW. I was definitely wondering if some cameras recorded 24/7, and I’d love to know if there are ways to dodge the motion-activated ones.

        Of course I assumed that the “nine months” asserted by defendants was one of those hyperbolic attempts to induce Cannon to delay. I expect this will continue to be an issue in pre-trial motions.

    • Zirczirc says:

      The prosecution has listed the days/times of interest. What could be in the rest of the video that would be exculpatory? “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you DO see my client with a mask on and pointing a gun at the teller in the snippets the prosecution provides, but if you look at the rest of the video, you don’t see my client at all.”

  10. bgThenNow says:

    I know this has been discussed in some manner here, but I am a little curious that the USG in part due to security for ex-Presidents does not have a hand in the security cameras at MAL and etc. Is there any other system outside what Trump Organization has?

    Assuming as above that the TO has long experience with security cameras/tapes and the like, if TO is in charge of locations and monitoring of “security” cameras, how much of the placement would have been determined by TFG himself? How much would he have an interest in the monitoring of such?

    I imagine the IT person would be slightly more sophisticated than the other employees in terms of who in the IT security field he might interact with, and receiving a target letter in early June would have reached out for legal guidance among his peers, reviewing policies in hand, perhaps having an early discussion with good counsel about what was entailed with a target letter, what was possible, and legal at that point.

    He would have had an opportunity to be prepared for the sorts of demands from “the boss” he might expect and how to handle it. I suppose he had regular work hours, and he would review the action cameras when he arrived at work for time away. This, plus whatever he observed during work hours, would have provided a roadmap for what others were doing in regard to the boxes and other things, which he might have held close.

    Thanks again to Marcy and the commenters here for helping to build understanding among those of us without the background we get here.

  11. klynn says:

    While I am not a security expert, is it fair to assume both on grounds interior and exterior security cameras also had sound/audio capture and conversations were included in the acquired footage?

    • emptywheel says:

      Probably not. Not even a lot of the CCTV from Congress used in Jan6 has sound. It made it hard to investigate some of the people there when Ashli Babbitt was killed until they had collected enough footage from participants to learn what people said.

      • klynn says:

        Ah. Makes sense. I had read newer CCTV cameras now have directional microphones that are sound and motion activated, so I was kind of hoping for an amplified element to the “keystones cops” but figured the MAL system probably didn’t have the latest and greatest tech. A girl can dream!

    • CaptMike says:

      I think Florida is a two-party consent state.
      You can set up the cameras however you choose, but we generally disable audio recording in two-party consent states.
      OTOH some users are more interested in capturing the audio than getting consent.

  12. phisheep says:

    Maybe we’re misinterpreting that “approximately nine months” of surveillance footage. If I were a defense lawyer trying to big up the volume of discovery I would definitely multiply it by the number of cameras. So that gives us 4 (known) cameras x 62 days, which is approximately eight months, not nine. And five cameras would be approximately ten months. That suggests to me that there is one more redacted camera, but with about half its footage missing (in the discovery released so far).

    • vinniegambone says:

      Taveras likely was cognizant he was working in a war zone of sorts since the documents tug of war with Archives started within weeks of Trump’s white house departure. Right ? He may have watched on Monitor as boxes from WH were loaded off the trucks and saw who moved what where. Wondering if Nauta had a hand in loading the boxes onto the trucks, and came down from Washington to help or supervise the off loading.

      Seems interviews with whoever packed the boxes could lead to evidence of Trump’s involvement if not insistence of materials he wanted shipped .
      Did Calamari (s) every accompany Trump the two times he came back to MAL unexpectedly ?
      I can’t believe the head of security would know himself how to delete something and possibly would have brought a “cleaner” with him .
      If there was deletions going on it is likely, there multiple places, servers,clouds etc besides MAL that would need to be wiped. Taveras, couldn’t wouldn’t do it. Hard to believe a guy whose expertise was managing a skating ring could handle the wipes. If there were deletions they may have reached out for outside help they could trust.
      The boss wants the Server (s)deleted should have been the order.
      Lastly, look for testimony to emerge that the Boss alluded to was Calamari, not Trump.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Vinnie, when you anticipate an argument that “the boss” refers to Calamari(s), do you mean that Trump will try to get away with that lie?

        Having read both indictments, the original and the superseding, I don’t see any evidence of these employees thinking of or referring to any Calamari as “the boss.” Yes, I can see Trump trying that out, but there are too many MAL workers who would seem to know otherwise.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Public denials to the contrary, everyone who works in TrumpWorld knows there’s only one boss. And it’s not Bruce Springsteen.

  13. P’villain says:

    As much as I want to believe that the prosecution has a “complete” set of recordings subpoenaed from the cloud, and therefore knows exactly what was erased or not turned over, it’s hard to explain why they would not have included those facts in the superseding indictment, were that the case.

    That kind of charge might be enough to change a few MAGA minds. Maybe.

    • BirdGardener says:

      This sentence stood out for me:

      It is also true that the indictment stops at 3:55PM on June 27, 2022, more than a week before some surveillance footage was turned over on July 6, 2022.

      Such a very specific time-stamp. Did something happen at ~4:00 pm that is still under investigation, and likely to be included in charges in another state??? I am too fuzzy-brained with allergies and fatigue to have even a ghost of a chance at analyzing/understanding this properly right now, though.

      • BRUCE F COLE says:

        Try a single malt. That’s what Rudy uses to clear his head, per the vicious left wing rumor mill.~

    • BRUCE F COLE says:

      According to this profile, De Oliveira himself may be one of those whose alliegance to Trump may be ephimeral.

      He’s apparently not the died in the wool MAGA type that Nauta seems to be, along with the others in Trump’s tight circle. One report interviewing John Irving, his atty to this point, couldn’t get a response from the lawyer following the superseding indictment that pulled his client into the defendant list — whereas a forceful statement of innocence and weaponization of the DOJ would be standard fare in that situation otherwise.
      Other Irving statements about his client that I’ve seen have all been concerning his difficulting finding local representation.

      I’m wondering if Carlos is in the process of reevaluating his stance vis a vis “the boss.” Here’s one comment that highlights his non-insider position in the Trump org chart:
      “Asked about De Oliveira after the federal indictment was unsealed Thursday, one person close to Trump responded, ‘Who the hell is that?’ ”

    • Benvindo Soares says:

      That’s an interesting point – If I remember correctly the Govt claimed they would make the defendants aware of the various types of funds and deals they may pay out …or have paid out or – dealt for serrvices. They way it was described in tthe document seemed to take away any gamesmanship of information that could come about.

      I wonder what happens if someone else was being lawfully surveilled at Mara ..? Video camera’s are easy pickings. It seems to me a former Casino owner would have closed circuit system – all in house and upscale. That doesn’t meet the eye.

  14. sfvalues says:

    Could the 62 days be because the DOJ sent a “draft” subpoena for the security footage two days earlier, on June 22nd? Maybe someone in security started preserving the video from the moment they were notified about the draft, not the final subpoena.

    • emptywheel says:

      Yes. That’s my guess as to what happened, which I tried to explain above. My Q is how much action that took and where.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Am I the only one who would have expected the opposite–that is, for whoever made the call at MAL to use the “draft” subpoena as an excuse to wait for the real one before preserving video?

  15. David F. Snyder says:

    Two more cents:

    Just because the data isn’t there, doesn’t mean it isn’t useful. Getting Taveras as witness helps, even if the data is for all practical purposes unrecoverable.

    Deletion method matters. But so do available forensic resources. For example, a quantum computer renders even “military grade” encryption essentially useless (not that DOJ has access to one). That leaves zeroing out the storage device or sectors thereof (like on SSDs). So it’s not clear to me that the data is wholly unrecoverable, at least in theory; for practical purposes, the time stamp deletions should be enough to damn any evidence tampering so all this may be moot (but useful to remember as quantum computation comes into being).

    • Robot-seventeen says:

      The DoD has been able to crack various forms of encryption up to 1024 bit for over a decade according to Snowden (who knows now?). Their data recovery capabilities I’m sure are comparable in efficacy. I’m sure they’re well beyond anything we suspect but those sorts of programs will never be seen in court cases. They may be used to back fill an investigation to allow development of front-facing sources that can be revealed. That’s common for lower-level confidential sources dunno about the super-secret stuff. Frankly there’s probably copies of about everything waiting for exploitation.

      • BRUCE F COLE says:

        I was going to say that whatever the most robust retrieval systems that exist are, they are likely available to the NSA, especially given the monumentous nature of national secuirty risks in this case.

  16. Konny_2022 says:

    Small topic, most likely not very relevant, but “the bushes” through which Nauta and De Oliveira kept walking back and forth had reminded me of an exchange with Rayne on the Mar-a-Lago borders and layout the other day. So when Marcy mentioned the bushes in this post

    (Though even the superseding indictment appears to rely on surveillance footage, capturing Nauta and De Oliveira in bushes just off Mar-a-Lago property, that could have come from a neighboring property owner.)

    I was triggered to do a little research on who might be the owner or owners “on the northern edge of The Mar-a-Lago Club property” (superseding indictment, para. 86) — and was surprised by finding that Trump himself owns an L-shaped piece of land bordering the parking lot. From the “Property Details”:

    “There is one building on the property. This property has None residential units.
    This property is valued at $206,771.00.”

    The respective internet page also has a nice map. The link (some random blanks interspersed): htt ps: // floridaparcels .com/ property/60/ 504343350 50000203.

    It might be interesting to know what’s in the building on that property: only gardening tools? I resist the temptation to speculate. But I think it may be of some interest that Nauta and De Oliveira did not necessarily enter property owned by someone else but could have stayed on Trump property even when leaving Mar-a-Lago through the bushes.

    • Benvindo Soares says:

      Interesting. Could it be leased out to another entity ? How funny would it be if its 4 seasons landscaping ? lol Better yet that what if the organization – is self surveiled ?

    • thorvold says:

      We were discussing this in one of the other recent threads. Trump owns several properties surrounding Mar-a-lago. Here is the Palm Beach County property record website showing owners:
      (broken by spaces) htt ps:// /cwgis/papa. html?qvalue=50434335 050000202

      It has that L shaped property included with 124 Woodbridge Rd (owned by Trump)
      The property on the corner of Woodbridge Rd/Ocean Blvd, along with 3 more properties across Ocean Blvd are all owned by Trump.
      My theory is that they might have gotten video from the private home at 136 Woodbridge that is on the other side of the L shaped lot, since it appears to have lights/cameras mounted under the eaves.
      You can also get a decent look at the L shaped lot if you check Google Street view from Woodbridge Rd, although the pictures there are from ~2015. Bing Maps street view is from 2014, but the pictures are a little clearer.

  17. Little old lady says:

    I’m reading all of this, and hearing, “private server this, and private server that.” I will use this in any further conversations with supporters of TFG.

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. “Little old lady” is your third username; you’ve also commented as “Littleoldlady” and “Littleoldlady71.” Pick a name and stick with it. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  18. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Slightly OT, Trump establishes legal defense fund, a move he has long avoided, having associated it with the obviously guilty. Karma’s a bitch. Without much credibility, his people say it’s “not meant” to cover his own legal bills. For now. I guess that means it’s only or those whose loyalty he’s buying.

    We could start a pool over how long it will take Trump to throw out that caveat. My guess is by the end of the next reporting period. He’s spent $40 million on himself and others so far this year, so the bills over the next twelve to eighteen months will total over another hundred million. Of course, Trump will pool all available resources to pay those bills, in whatever manner requires the least disclosure.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        They are a lot of reasons. Here are a few. Trump is famously litigious. For him, it’s a marketing expense, part of creating his public persona and to intimidate the scores or hundreds of people who might sue him. But he always had more money and juice than whomever he was suing. Not so now, with the government on the other side. That makes things take longer, which is more expensive. And it’s now an existential thing, about whether he lives the rest of his life in prison or escapes it by being President or by being pardoned by another foolish Republican.

        He paid one lawyer in Florida, Kise, $3.0 million up front, in the earlier case before Judge Cannon, because who wants to work for a guy famous for not paying his bills and for throwing his lawyers under the bus?

        I don’t know that we know how many people whose lawyers Trump is paying. Nor do we know whether this covers all his major legal expenses. He’s personally defending one criminal and one civil case in NY state. He’s in a procedural fight in the state of Georgia, trying to prevent Fani Willis from indicting him. He’s defending himself in criminal cases in federal court in Florida and a probable one in DC. More are likely to follow.

        • StillHopeful says:

          I am under the impression that TFG cannot be pardoned from state related crimes; the state cases may be in his mind the most terrifying.

          I assume he believes he will win the Presidency and then be home free.

          What if he wins but one of the states has indicted him, or convicted him?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Some state governors can pardon state crimes. In Georgia, however, it’s an independent panel.

        • bmaz says:

          In Georgia, it looks like a felon be pardoned and expungement is available too.

          Expungement in AZ can be issued by a judge. In Georgia, however, Expungement can only be granted after a pardon has been issued. That is tough

          So, people here are blood thirsty for Thrump’s blood, they are constantly trying to over prosecute, and violating rights all defendants. Especially this one. The attitude is beyond disturbing. Maybe you should take a step back and see if there are conviction. And, for the love of god, please quit trying to violate basic criminal concepts that with a primal scream to “get your man”. Apparently, the one man is more important than the health and sancty. Mabe you could try a bit of along with your blood thirst.

        • StillHopeful says:

          I never asked my question out of malice for TFG.

          I was just wondering about the potential Constitutional/DOJ questions should such a situation arise.

          Lots of my work, in those days, was pondering the what ifs; and trying to be prepared.

      • xyxyxyxy says:

        It’s his claim.
        I’d say like Bannon and his cohorts, he’s pocketing a lot of it and crying for more to pocket.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I’d say he’s looking at a bigger expense that he can’t walk away from than he’s ever had to manage before. And he’s has a lot of loyalty he has to buy, or else.

        • David Brooks says:

          It’s probably unknowable, but how much loyalty does he have to buy and how much is given freely? Are any, or many, of the recent crop of co-defendants and others mentioned in the charges just true believers like so many of the rally-goers? Not to mention those “bought” with a (honestly, I mean it, trust me) promise of a pardon?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          You’re right. It’s unknowable. It’s probably also a moving target, one the DoJ is working hard to move.

          [LOL slow down, earl – you had two typos in your email address just now. /~Rayne]

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I usually repair those things so as not to burden you, but the edit option seems to have gone missing. Is that my browser or something else?

        • Matt___B says:

          I just wrote a post and it was published immediately without the usual waiting period during which editing can happen – something’s up with that: heads-up mods…

        • xyxyxyxy says:

          Spent by Trump for 1-6/23 on legal $40,000,000
          Let’s say his lawyers charge $1,000 per hour.
          That’s 40,000 hours of work.
          If all their time is devoted to Trump in a week, 40 Hours.
          That’s 1,000 Weeks.
          I don’t know if above makes any, some or no sense.
          Of course the $40,000,000 could be for payments for work done over more than this half year.
          But I feel it’s way overstated and he’s paying attorneys for fake billing and they’re returning some of those dollars to him.
          They’re all crooks.

        • xyxyxyxy says:

          Left out and system didn’t give me any opportunity to edit: Don’t forget that he repaid Cohen for the Stormy payments by grossing up Cohen’s payments and also he’s being charged for claiming the full payments as “legal expenses”.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          A Trump PAC reportedly paid $3.0 million to just one lawyer in Florida last year, Chris Kise.

          Payments are commonly in advance for a given amount of work, though Trump seems to avoid that where possible. I suspect it’s become less possible. He’s hired a lot of lawyers for multiple cases in at least four jurisdictions. In addition to lawyers, there are legal assistants, research and other fees, etc.

          All in, the amount does not seem unreasonable for a difficult to work with, very high-profile guy, who litigates in the press more than he does in court, and who is in existential trouble in multiple jurisdictions.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Despite Marcy’s latest post about someone in the Trump orbit lying about his burn rate for lawyers in 2023 – his public filings claim he spent only half the claimed $40 million number – neither amount seems out of line with his legal jeopardy.

          If he actually spent it that way. I think Marcy’s post raises the question of whether that’s where he spent his money. Hence her zinger: he really, “ought to have better accounting than George Santos.”

        • xyxyxyxy says:

          My point is both amounts seem out of line with his legal jeopardy especially since one is double the other.
          He’ll submit a corrected one when DOJ gets closer to sniffing out the real numbers and their destinations.

    • Out of Nowhere says:

      A question for the cognoscenti. Can a PAC (or someone otherwise inclined) establish a fund to support witnesses to TFG’s acts who cannot otherwise afford counsel and who choose not to be represented by an attorney of TFG’s choosing? Is there precedent for this?

        • Out of Nowhere says:

          Well, not really. But I thought I read that Cassidy Hutchinson’s second attorney was financed (i.e. paid) by some outside organization (can’t find the cite quickly) and I was wondering whether there is an analogue for that in the criminal arena. Kind of like a legal defense fund for a witness with a bona fide sponsor.

        • bmaz says:

          It is not impossible, but it is fraught with problems. There are a lot of problems though, as Trump’s activities have demonstrated. Personally, I hate this stuff. It is one thing for a close family member(s) or declared friend. Nut I want to know who is paying witnesses.

        • BirdGardener says:

          I didn’t like the looks of the link, but here’s a quote from their website:

          Finding assistance for legal fees can be challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone. Crowdfunding through GoFundMe is a quick and easy way to raise the money you need to lift the financial burden of lawyer fees. When you know you can pay for flat, retainer, or contingency fees you will be able to rest a little more. Sign up and start your fundraiser today.

      • ShallMustMay08 says:

        Roger at the daily beast had a write up I saw 1st thing this morning. Sorry I can’t link it right now. He has the background that NYT should have had with their breaking Sunday night news about his new set up for legal defenses, since it was set up last week. It’s not actually a pac but another instrument (527?) to help dark money. Gray area rules with IRS and FEC. That might offer more insight.

  19. Doctor My Eyes says:

    Sorry for the OT but I think enjoyable enough to mention here is the ruling rejecting Trump’s request that we-all-just-pretend-the-GA-grand-jury-never-happened. When a front of bombast, ignorance, and narcissistic fantasy collides with a front of evidence, fact, and reasoned opinion, we often get thunder and lightning. We’ve seem some satisfying examples from judges so far. For my money, Judge McBurney’s ruling is the most enjoyable to date. I wish the ruling went on for 30 pages rather than the action-packed 9.

    Choosing from many scathing, often funny, jabs, I offer this one by way of example:

    Trump knew this, and now Latham does too: “No doubt the threat of prosecution can weigh heavily on the mind of anyone under investigation. But without diminishing the seriousness of the burden, that ordinary experience cannot support extraordinary jurisdiction.” Trump v. United States, 54 F.4th 689, 700 (11th Cir. 2022) (citations omitted)

      • AgainBrain says:

        Indeed, worth reading in it’s entirety. The “Rumpelstilkskin” reference is also hilarious, and there are many other wonders.

        • David Brooks says:

          For those who haven’t yet asked, a “blot on the escutcheon” is a permanent stain on one’s family honor. The escutcheon is a shield bearing the family crest.

  20. Midtowngirl says:

    Michael Cohen was on CNN, saying Trump was “stupid” for not knowing that the local (MAL) server was backed up to the main Trump org. servers in NY.

  21. Savage Librarian says:


    He got the job with a tap,
    But pulled up by the bootstrap,
    how it landed in his lap,
    felt like a deal with a mishap.

    He knew when to shut his yap,
    Surveillance photos: snap, snap, snap,
    In one there is a curious chap,
    But he didn’t see a detailed map.

    When the boss said do it asap,
    He didn’t want to hear some crap,
    He just wanted them to zap,
    all the bad stuff, every scrap.

    He wore his MAGA thinking cap,
    All jacked up by a fixed trap,
    Tinker-tell said clap, clap, clap,
    Believe, believe there is no gap.

  22. AndTheSlithyToves says:

    “EW: If there are or were gaps, they served to hide something still more damning than proof that Trump was playing a shell game with his own attorney.”
    Sarah Kendzior has repeatedly pointed out that Trump uses scandal to cover up criminality.

    • Matt___B says:

      These Carville War Room podcasts seem to re-packaged for YouTube months after they actually occurred. I started listening to this episode but when they referenced Biden just getting back from his historic visit to Ukraine, I went to podcast website and found that it was recorded in February. Also it’s audio-only. The first subject they talked to Marcy about was Jeff Gerth’s CJR article which was covered here in February, so it seemed like listening to a re-hash of what was well-covered here then…

  23. Twoflower says:

    On the homepage, Trump’s tweet (in closeup) appears edited, but in this article it is viewable in its entirety. You probably meant to have the edited version also here.
    (Not sure if I used the same username previously – I will stick to this one from now on.)

    [FYI – you have used this name three times to date. /~Rayne]

  24. Outcountry says:

    I wonder if the Secret Service initially assessed the security situation at MAL and decided to install a separate video system to fill in gaps and provide coverage focused more on exterior views than the existing Trump system. If so, very little would be known about it outside of the SS, but it could have been used to guide subpoena requests and reveal meetings in the bushes, as well as factor into the volume of data provided to the defense. It also seems possible that equipment for it may have been installed in the same server room as Trump’s, and could have been a target of the flooding (not that it would accomplish much if everything it captured was in a government cloud). Very little of this would necessarily appear in the indictment documents.

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