In Florida – near Trump’s estate – voters are divided on whether he should get another chance

US News

The still waters of Lake Worth Lagoon ripple as a heron dips its beak in search of prey in the midday sun. On the bridge above, army veteran Larry Parpadelle attaches bait to his fishing rod, hoping to snare a catfish.

Larry is here most days and often spots Donald Trump just beyond the line of palm trees which mark the boundary of his Mar-a-Lago home.

“I saw him the other week having a cold drink with his buddies after playing tennis,” Larry says.

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Trump kept documents in bathroom

It may look and sound tranquil, but this sprawling complex of buildings is the epicentre of a political and legal earthquake which could yet shape the future of this country.

Inside this 17-acre estate, prosecutors allege, the former president violated the Espionage Act. They claim he retained information about the weapons capabilities and vulnerabilities of the US and its allies, which may threaten national and global security.

Photographs released by the Justice Department show boxes, unmarked and unsecured, supposedly containing top secret documents.

They are piled high in various places – dozens stacked in a ballroom, dozens more propped against a gold gilded sink in a bathroom. When FBI agents searched the property, they found papers strewn across the floor in one storeroom.

More on Donald Trump

They are startling images which highlight just how messy things have become for Donald Trump. But still, his support base is entrenched. Larry, the hobby fisherman, among them.

I ask if he thinks Donald Trump will get elected again in 2024 despite being a defendant in a federal case.

“Yes, ma’am, I do,” Larry says. “I really do. The majority of the people I know will give him that vote. We know that he’s very boisterous and we know he’s kind of a show off, but he’s an awful good president.

When Mr Trump was charged in relation to hush money payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels, he called it a politically motivated witch-hunt. He was singing from the same hymn sheet with his second indictment – calling it a “dark day” for America.

Read more:
How worried should Trump be about this indictment?

Classified documents ‘kept in shower’
Allegations at ‘entirely different level to what we’ve seen before’

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‘Laws apply to everyone’

But at the John Prince pickleball club – a 10-minute drive from his front door – doubles partners Anne and Maureen think the game might be up for the former president.

“I despise the man,” says Anne, “I think he’s a crook. I think he doesn’t know the difference between a truth and a lie. I think he’s so egotistical and looks out for himself and really doesn’t even care about this country. It’s amazing that it’s not going to change some people’s opinion of him

Maureen chips in. “I hope these federal charges will be it,” she says, “his polling numbers should be going down, not up.”

The polls suggest that Donald Trump will still be chosen as the Republican candidate for president in 2024. It is unlikely the federal case will reach trial before then, but the implications are still extraordinary. Trump would have to schedule his campaign rallies around court appearances in two separate criminal cases.

These charges and the apparent weight of evidence against him will be difficult to defend against.

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