Former US President Donald Trump faces 37 criminal charges including charges of unauthorized withholding of classified documents and conspiracy to obstruct justice after he left the White House in 2021, according to federal court documents made public Friday. .
More legal problems for Donald Trump. This Friday, June 9, the indictment of the former president on the case linked to the classified documents found at his residence was released. According to the text, he faces 37 charges, including “concealment of information related to national security” and “obstruction of justice.”
The charges stem from Trump’s treatment of confidential government materials that he took with him when he left the White House in January 2021.
Trump must make a first appearance in court handling the case, a Miami court, next Tuesday. One day before his 77th birthday. According to the indictment, those documents include some of the most sensitive US military secrets, including information about the US nuclear program and potential internal vulnerabilities in the event of an attack.
One of the documents concerned a foreign country’s support for terrorism against US interests. The materials allegedly extracted by Trump come from the Pentagono, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies, the indictment alleges. This points out that Trump he showed another person a Defense Department document, described as: an “attack plan” against another country.
This is an unprecedented accusation in the history of the United States, since never before has a former president had to face a judge on federal charges. All of this is happening as the far-right ex-president is the favorite for next year’s Republican presidential nomination.
What is the case about? Investigators seized approximately 13,000 documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property in Palm Beach, Florida, nearly a year ago. One hundred were marked as classified, despite the fact that one of Trump’s lawyers had previously said that all records with classified marks had been returned to the government.
“I am an innocent man”: Donald Trump
“I AM AN INNOCENT MAN!” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform on Thursday, after announcing that he had been indicted.
The Republican previously said he declassified those documents while he was president, but his lawyers refused to make that argument in the court documents. The media ‘CNN’ reported this Friday that Trump said, after leaving office, that he had withheld military information without declassifying. Those comments, captured on audio, could be key evidence at trial.
District Judge Aileen Cannon has initially been assigned to oversee the lawsuit, according to a source briefed on the matter. Cannon could also preside over the trial, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity to Reuters.
Cannon, appointed by Trump in 2019, made headlines last year when she ruled in favor of the former US president at a crucial stage in the process and was later overturned on appeal. The magistrate would determine, among other things, when the trial would take place and what Trump’s sentence would be if found guilty.
It is the second criminal case for Trump, who is due to go to trial in New York next March in a state case stemming from a hush money payment to a porn star. If he wins the presidency again, Trump, as head of the federal government, would be in a position to derail the federal case, but not the state case in New York.
Trump reportedly conspired with an aide to hide the documents
On Friday, Trump also said on his Truth Social platform that his former aide, Walt Nauta, had been charged in the case. Nauta worked at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort after serving in the White House under the Republican. Nauta’s attorney, Stanley Woodward, declined to comment.
After receiving a grand jury subpoena in May 2022 requiring him to produce all classified trademark documents in his possession, Trump he allegedly ordered his assistant Nauta to bring 64 boxes of documents from a warehouse in Mar-a-Lago to the residence of the conservative politician.
Before the lawyer Trump arrived at the club to search the warehouse, in response to the June 2 summons, Nauta spoke with Trump by phone and then moved 30 of those boxes from the former president’s residence to the warehouse, according to the indictment.
In an earlier post, Trump said he would be represented in the case by defense attorney Todd Blanche, who is handling a separate criminal case in Manhattan. Trump made that announcement after his lawyers John Rowley and Jim Trusty withdrew from the lawsuit for reasons that remain unclear.
“This morning we tendered our resignations as advisers to President Trump,” the two lawyers said in a statement. “It has been an honor to have spent the last year defending him and we know he will be vindicated,” they concluded.
Trump and his allies have portrayed the lawsuit as a political retaliation for Democratic President Joe Biden, but he has stayed away from the matter. The White House said it did not learn of the accusation ahead of time and declined to comment on it.
US Attorney General Merrick Garland has sought to minimize the perception of political interference by appointing Jack Smith as special counsel, giving him a degree of independence from Justice Department leadership to lead the prosecution.
The case does not bar Trump from campaigning or taking office if he were to win the November 2024 presidential election. Legal experts say there would be no basis to bar his inauguration, even if he were convicted and sent to prison.
Popular with Republicans
Trump’s legal troubles have not dented his popularity among Republican voters, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll. So far, his main Republican rivals have lined up behind him to criticize the case on political grounds.
Trump served as president from 2017 to 2021, and has so far managed to navigate controversies that could send other politicians reeling. He describes himself as the victim of a “witch hunt” and accuses the Justice Department of partisan bias.
Special counsel Smith is leading a second criminal investigation into efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn their 2020 election loss to President Biden. Trump is also facing a separate criminal investigation in Georgia, related to efforts to overturn his loss to Biden in that state.
Smith convened grand juries in both Washington and Miami to hear evidence, but chose to bring the case in the politically competitive state of Florida, rather than in the capital, where any jury would likely be majority Democratic.
Under federal law, defendants have the right to be charged at the location where the activity in question took place. An indictment in Florida, legal experts say, could prevent a lengthy legal challenge from Trump’s team over the proper site.
The state-by-state Republican presidential nomination contest begins early next year, with the party due to choose its nominee for the November 2024 election in July of that year.
This article was adapted from its original in English.
Source: France 24