In a dramatic courtroom scene, New York Times correspondent and CNN analyst Maggie Haberman’s sources reported a “bizarre” turn of events on Thursday during a trial related to the January 6 Capitol riot. The trial involved Federico Klein, a Jan. 6 suspect and former State Department official under ex-President Donald Trump’s administration, who was ultimately found guilty of seven felonies, including assaulting police and obstructing an official proceeding before Congress.
However, the courtroom drama was not solely focused on Klein’s case. Trump’s former body man, Will Russell, who was present in the courtroom for a separate appearance before the grand jury, found himself in the spotlight. Russell was asked a series of questions about his interactions with Trump before the former president’s departure from the White House.
According to sources familiar with the proceedings via Mediaite, the nature of the questioning led to intense exchanges, prompting Russell to leave the proceedings on multiple occasions to consult with his attorney, Stanley Woodward Jr. This line of questioning focused on Trump’s mindset during his final days in office, providing a glimpse into potential discussions that occurred during that critical period.
The delay caused by Russell’s prolonged appearance before the grand jury had a ripple effect, making Woodward late for the reading of the verdict in Klein’s case. Judge Trevor McFadden inquired about the cause of the delay, and upon learning that it was due to Russell’s grand jury testimony, he summoned prosecutor Thomas Windom, who works for special counsel Jack Smith.
This courtroom scene has sparked intrigue and speculation about the direction of the investigation. A target letter sent to Trump this week reportedly mentioned three statutes related to election interference. However, developments such as Russell’s testimony and other events hint at the possibility that the special counsel’s team is also considering actions directly related to the Capitol riot.
On Thursday, Mr. Russell was asked a series of questions about his interactions with Mr. Trump before the former president’s departure from the White House, according to a person familiar with the appearance. More than once, Mr. Russell got up and left the proceedings to consult with Mr. Woodward after prosecutors asked questions related to his discussions with Mr. Trump, the person familiar with the appearance said.
The problems began when Mr. Russell’s appearance before the grand jury ran long, causing Mr. Woodward to be late for the reading of a bench trial verdict for one of his Capitol riot clients in front of Judge McFadden. The client, Federico Klein, who served as an official in the State Department during Mr. Trump’s administration, was ultimately found guilty of seven felonies, including assaulting the police and obstruction of an official proceeding before Congress.
But before Judge McFadden issued the verdict, he quizzed Mr. Woodward about why he was delayed. When the judge learned that it was because of the grand jury, he sent court officials to summon Mr. Windom, who works for the special counsel, Jack Smith.