Donald Trump indictment unsealed in classified documents probe

The indictment carries unmistakably serious legal consequences, including the possibility of jail time if Trump is convicted.

MIAMI – Former President Donald Trump is facing 37 felony charges related to the mishandling of classified documents.

That’s according to an unsealed indictment Friday that also alleges that he described a Pentagon “plan of attack” and shared a classified map related to a military operation.

The indictment marks the Justice Department’s first formal confirmation of a criminal case against Trump arising from the keeping of hundreds of documents at his Florida home, Mar-a-Lago.

Accused along with Trump was Walt Nauta, a Trump aide who was seen on CCTV unpacking boxes at Mar-a-Lago.

The indictment alleges Trump improperly removed multiple boxes from the White House to bring them to Mar-a-Lago, many of which contained classified information.

THIS IS A NEW UPDATE. The following AP previous story.

Donald Trump was indicted for a crime mishandling confidential documents at his Florida estate, a remarkable development that made him the first former president in US history to face criminal charges by the federal government he had overseen.

The Justice Department is expected to publicize the indictment ahead of a historic trial next week amid a 2024 presidential campaign ended by criminal prosecutions in multiple states.

The indictment carries unmistakably serious legal consequences, including the possibility of jail time if Trump is convicted.

But it also has enormous political implications, potentially upending the Republican presidential primaries that Trump has dominated and once again testing the willingness of Republican voters and voters. Party leaders in sticking with a candidate have now been indicted twice, who could face more charges. And it sets the stage for a sensational trial centered on claims that a man once tasked with protecting the nation’s most closely guarded secrets knowingly and illegally store sensitive national security information after leaving office.

The Justice Department did not immediately confirm the indictment publicly. But two people familiar with the situation who are not authorized to discuss it publicly say the indictment includes seven criminal charges. One of those people said Trump’s lawyers were contacted by prosecutors shortly before he announced Thursday on the platform Truth Social that he had been indicted.

Within minutes of his announcement, Trump had begun fundraising for his presidential campaign. He declared his innocence in a video and repeated the familiar chorus that the investigation was a “witch hunt”. He said he will appear in court Tuesday afternoon in Miami, where a federal grand jury heard testimony most recently this week.

The case adds legal danger to Trump, who has indicted in New York and face Additional investigations in Washington and Atlanta it can also lead to criminal charges. But of the various investigations he faces, legal experts – as well as Trump’s own aides – have long viewed the Mar-a-Lago investigation as the most dangerous and is the most ripe opportunity for prosecution. Campaign aides have braced for the consequences since Trump’s lawyers were told he was the target of the investigation, arguing that the issue was not whether he was charged but rather the issue. When.

Appearing on CNN on Thursday night, Trump’s attorney James Trusty said the indictment includes charges of knowingly withholding national defense information – a crime under the Espionage Act, which regulates the confidential handling of government – obstruction, perjury and conspiracy.

The case is a major milestone for the Justice Department that has investigated Trump for years – as president and as a private citizen – but has never charged him before. The most notable investigation was the special counsel’s earlier investigation into the relationship between 2016 campaign and Russia, but prosecutors in that investigation cited Justice Department policy against prosecuting a sitting president. When he left office, however, he lost that protection.

The investigation took a big step forward last November when Attorney General Merrick Garlanda soft-spoken former federal judge who has long stated that no one is considered above the law, appointed Jack SmithA notoriously aggressive, tough war crimes prosecutor leads both the document investigation as well as its own investigation into the attempted overthrow of the 2020 election.

The indictment arose from a months-long investigation into whether Trump broke the law by keeping hundreds of documents are marked classified at his Palm Beach propertyMar-a-Lago, and whether Trump has taken steps to thwart the government’s efforts to recover records.

Prosecutors have said that Trump brought about 300 classified documents to Mar-a-Lago after leaving the White House, including about 100 that were seized by the FBI last August during a search of the home underlined the gravity of the Justice Department’s investigation. Trump has repeatedly asserted that he has the right to keep classified documents when he leaves the White House, and has also claimed that he declassified them without proof.

Unsealed court records last year show federal investigators believe they have a probable cause that many of the crimes were committed, including the retention of defense informationdestroy government records and obstruct.

Since then, the Justice Department has gathered additional evidence and secured grand jury testimony from people close to Trump, including his own lawyer. Laws governing the handling of classified records and obstruction are felonies that can carry years in prison in the event of conviction.

Even so, it remains unclear how much damage it will do to Trump’s standing as his first indictment generated millions of dollars in donations from angry supporters and did not weaken him. in polls.

The former president has long sought to use his legal troubles to his political advantage, complaining on social media and at public events that Democratic prosecutors are manipulating incidents to damage his 2024 election campaign. He will likely lean into that play again, reviving his longstanding claims that the Justice Department – during his presidency, investigated whether the 2016 campaign whether or not his team colluded with Russia – somehow weaponized against him.

Trump’s legal troubles extend beyond the New York indictment and the classified documents case.

Smith is separately investigating efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, and the district attorney in Georgia’s Fulton County is investigating Trump over alleged efforts to overturn dump the 2020 election in that state.

Signs have been mounting for weeks that an indictment is near, including Second meeting between Trump’s attorneys and Justice Department officials. His lawyers were also recently informed that he was the target of the investigation, the clearest sign of an indictment looming.

Although much of the investigative work has been handled in Washington, with a grand jury meeting there for months, it was recently reported that prosecutors were presenting evidence before a panel. separately in Florida, where many of the alleged acts of obstruction were scrutinized by prosecutors. .

The Justice Department said Trump has repeatedly resisted efforts by the National Archives and Records Administration to get the documents back. After months of exchanges, Trump representatives returned 15 boxes of files in January 2022, including about 184 documents that officials said had a classified mark on them.

FBI and Justice Department investigators issued subpoenas in May 2022 for classified documents still in Trump’s possession. But after a Trump attorney provided three dozen records and confirmed that a thorough search of the property had been carried out, officials suspect that more documents are still available.

The investigation smoldered for months before bursting onto the front page with a remarkable style last August. That’s when FBI agents executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago and removed 33 boxes of classified files, including top-secret documents kept in locker rooms and desk drawers and along with belongings. individual. The Justice Department said some records are so sensitive that investigators need a security clearance upgrade to review them.

The Trump investigation seems complicated – politically, if not legal – by the discovery of classified documents at the Delaware home and former Washington office of President Joe Biden. , as well as at the Indiana home of former Vice President Mike Pence. The Justice Department recently informed Pence that he will not face charges, while the second special counsel continues to investigate Biden’s handling of classified documents.

But compared with Trump, there are key differences in the facts and legal issues surrounding Biden and Pence’s handling of documents, including the fact that representatives for both say the documents have been unlicensed. willing to turn them over to investigators as soon as they are found. By contrast, investigators quickly found out whether Trump, who during his four years as president had shown contempt for the FBI and the Justice Department, had sought to obstruct the investigation by refusing to turn over all of the information. documents are required or not.

Tucker reports from Washington. Colvin reports from Des Moines, Iowa.

Edmuns DeMars

Edmund DeMarche is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Edmund DeMarche joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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