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Federal CHARGES From Classified Documents & Espionage Act

Donald Trump has been indicted and arrested a second time. He was indicted by a federal grand jury on 40 countsrelated to alleged unlawful retention of classified documents. He is alleged to have illegally taken highly sensitive government documents, ignored a court order to return them, obstructed an investigation into the matter, and then lied about it. In late July 2023, three additional charges were added in a superseding indictment, supported by claims that Trump worked with his body man Walt Nauta and Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos De Oliveira in an effort to delete security footage taken of people moving some of these same confidential documents around the property.

Donald Trump Potential Federal Indictment(s) Related to Classified Documents
(Evan Vucci/AP Photo)

Trump appeared at the Federal District Court in Miami on Tuesday, June 13, at 3:00pm and pleaded not guilty to these charges. This is the second time Donald Trump has been indicted this year; he already faces charges by the Manhattan DA’s office for hush money payments.


The U.S. Department of Justice, through Special Counsel Jack Smith, has been investigating Donald Trump’s obstruction of their investigation into and potentially illegal removal of hundreds of classified government documents, including documents with sensitive national security information, from the White House, which he then kept at his estate in Mar-a-Lago after his presidency ended.


The Special Counsel convened a federal grand jury to investigate the matter and determine whether charges should be brought. The investigation focuses on what documents were kept, what security classifications are associated with those documents, how they were stored, who could access them, and why Trump’s lawyers attested that all documents had been returned when they hadn’t. It can be against the law to improperly retain, store, or allow unauthorized access to top secret or classified government documents.


The Espionage Act also prohibits keeping national security information that “could be used to the injury of the United States.”




Donald Trump is now facing a second indictment, this time in federal court. This indictment is for 40 counts of criminal charges. He has been charged with willful retention of national security information, concealing documents, making false and misleading statements, and obstructing the government’s efforts to reclaim the classified documents he retained at his personal properties after his time in the White House ended.


What's Next

After Donald Trump pled not guilty to the federal charges against him, he was released on bond. As a condition of that bond, he cannot discuss the case with his alleged co-conspirator, his body man Walt Nauta.


Reports indicate he is still looking for a full legal team to represent him in the federal case in the Southern District of Florida.


The case will now enter pretrial proceedings. The parties will file pretrial motions and conduct discovery. This stage of the proceedings will likely go on for months.


After pretrial proceedings have concluded, a criminal trial will take place in May 2024.There, the prosecutors will have to demonstrate that Trump committed the acts alleged beyond a reasonable doubt. A jury of everyday Americans will sit at the trial, and determine if the prosecutors have met this standard, ultimately deciding whether Trump is guilty of any or all of the 40 criminal counts against him.


Background

The grand jury that indicted Trump in this case has considered whether there is sufficient evidence to support claims that Trump wrongfully retained or mishandled documents after he left the White House. They also have considered whether he later obstructed or conspired to obstruct the government’s attempts to retrieve them and whether he or others made false statements about these documents.


This indictment stems from federal agents’ June 2022 initial discovery of classified documents at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. After finding those documents, federal agents searched the property again in August of 2022, and found an additional 11,000 documents. The content of the documents remains unknown. Over 300 classified documents in total, some of which were labeled top secret, have been recovered from the property. Trump was charged with crimes relating to at least 31 of these documents, which contained top secret or secret information pertaining to the national defense of the United States of America.


A recently obtained recording from 2021 reveals Donald Trump stating he kept sensitive military documents. In this recording Trump states that he understood he both retained the documents and that those documents were still classified. His attorneys have not been able to locate or confirm the current whereabouts of the specific documents he discusses in this recording.


Reports indicate that former White House Chief-of-Staff Mark Meadows plans to plead guilty in one or both of the federal criminal investigations into Donald Trump’s actions.





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