February 23, 2024


Washington
CNN
 — 

Taylor Budowich, who has worked as a spokesman for Donald Trump, has arrived at the federal courthouse in Miami to appear before a grand jury as part of special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into the former president’s handling of classified documents.

Budowich testified for less than an hour, a source familiar with his appearance tells CNN.

Still aligned closely with the former president, Budowich now runs a super PAC backing Trump called MAGA, Inc.

“Today, in what can only be described as a bogus and deeply troubling effort to use the power of government to ‘get’ Trump, I fulfilled a legal obligation to testify in front a federal grand jury and I answered every question honestly,” Budowich tweeted late Wednesday morning.

The grand jury based in southern Florida has heard testimony from multiple witnesses in recent weeks as part of the federal investigation that has relied for months on grand juries in Washington, DC, to help gather evidence and witness testimony.

Smith’s investigation into potential mishandling of classified materials and possible obstruction appears to be nearing the final stages of the investigation.

It remains unclear why the special counsel is using a grand jury in southern Florida after months of relying on grand juries in Washington, DC, to help gather evidence and witness testimony in the classified documents case. Sources close to Trump told CNN they are unaware of the reasoning for the Florida grand jury.

Smith has the authority to operate and bring charges in any federal court jurisdiction. He has yet to bring any charges, and Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

In the early stages of the investigation, a search warrant for Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort was approved by a court in south Florida. Since then, the Washington grand jury has been gathering evidence in the documents probe but hasn’t met since early May.

Notably, an assistant US attorney from the Miami office was present last August when the search warrant for classified material was executed at Mar-a-Lago, a source familiar with the event told CNN.

Questions about the venue for the classified documents investigation were raised before Smith’s appointment last November, as the probe involves the handling of documents brought from the White House to Trump’s resort in Florida.

Elie Honig, a senior CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, said there are benefits and drawbacks to bringing a case in either Florida or Washington, DC.

The difficulty for Smith, Honig said, is that Florida would be a more obvious place to file charges based on the actions at Mar-a-Lago, but Washington may give prosecutors a more favorable jury pool at trial to win a conviction if charges are brought.

This story has been updated with additional details.


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