The Florida Connection to the January 6 Insurrection

Alabama and Arizona are the focus of federal investigators' attention. But what about Trump's home state of Florida?

I’ve often written—on Twitter since 2017, in my 2020 Proof podcast, and in the three books of the Proof trilogy, all published between 2018 and 2020—that Trump’s corrupt activities often center on a small cadre of individuals who fall into one of four categories: (1) Trump family members; (2) Trump lawyers; (3) longtime Trump associates who are known by Trump, from first-hand experience, to be unscrupulous; and (4) newer Trump associates whose actions have already compromised them with respect to state or federal law enforcement, making it unlikely that they would ever betray Trump or his family.

But I’ve also noted the particular and longstanding connection between Trump’s crimes and the State of Florida. Florida is Trump’s base of operations, and indeed with respect to illicit political schemes it served this function for the outgoing president even before Trump made the state his permanent residence. Trump’s most unprincipled mega-donors live in Florida; key Trump associates in his various corrupt schemes (Roger Stone being a primary example, but in earlier years Jeffrey Epstein would also have fit into this category) reside in the southern part of the state; and its Republican-led government is so thoroughly corrupt that it has for years offered Trump with innumerable opportunities for mischief and graft.

Those who’ve read Proof of Corruption (Macmillan, 2020) will be well familiar with Floridians like Governor Ron DeSantis, former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, and Trump campaign mega-donor Harry Sargeant III. DeSantis’ connections to federal defendants Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman remain substantially opaque; Trump’s apparently corrupt donations to Pam Bondi appear to have earned him the exercise of her dubious legal talents as counsel in his 2020 impeachment trial; and Sargeant’s intersection with the Trump-Ukraine and Trump-Venezuela scandals will for only a short while longer be discussed in detail exclusively in the Proof trilogy.

So it was with great interest that I listened to January 6 co-conspirator Ali Alexander (formerly “Ali Akbar”) giving an interview with a far-right religious outfit on January 12, as part of which conversation Alexander discussed how he got his start in Trumpist “activism.” Per Alexander—a well-known associate of both Trump adviser Roger Stone and the Proud Boys (the latter an organization to which Stone himself has also been linked)—the now-on-the-lam radical began working on behalf of the Trumpist cause shortly after the midterm elections in 2018.

The focus of his attention at the time? Broward County, Florida—the very county where Roger Stone lived.

If you think it’s unimaginable that Alexander would be trying to rise up in national politics via far-right activism in Roger Stone’s backyard without becoming a Stone associate, you’re right. What we don’t yet know is how closely Alexander worked with Donald Trump’s Grand Poobah of political “dirty tricks.”

Certainly, Alexander claims to be the originator of the “#StoptheSteal” movement—and the phrase “Stop the Steal” was infamously coined by Roger Stone. It would be no surprise if additional investigation revealed that Stone and Alexander have been working hand-in-glove on Trump’s 2020 re-election since a Democratic “blue wave” crashed over the Republican Party during the midterms. Indeed, Stone’s mid-2020 incarceration may well be causally related to Alexander’s emergence, in the fall of 2020, as the chief instigator of a far-right political movement identifying itself via a Stone-developed tagline.

But we also mustn’t forget former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, whose inept arguments during the Trump impeachment trial belie her facility with receiving apparently corrupt donations from Trump (who at the time of the said donations was trying to convince Bondi not to sue him over his “Trump University” scam). Trump’s history of dodgy dealings with the Office of the Attorney General in Florida has now returned to the limelight with the news that the new Florida Attorney General, Ashley Moody, has been linked to one of the groups that funded the January 6 Save America March-cum-insurrection.

The Alexander, Stone, and Moody connections suggest that federal investigators—already closely scrutinizing Trumpist politicians and entities in Alabama and Arizona at both the state (Arizona State GOP, Arizona Proud Boys, Alabama AG–led Republican Attorneys General Association) and federal (Reps. Biggs, Gosar, and Brooks; Sen. Tuberville) levels—must now turn their attention to a third “node” of Trump corruption: the State of Florida.

Certainly, Trump’s history of using mega-donors, business associates, political advisers, and corrupt political actors from the Sunshine State warrants the opening of this third major front in law enforcement’s battle against the ongoing Trumpist insurrection.