Miami: Former President Donald Trump has been indicted in an investigation into his handling of classified documents. Trump has been indicted by a federal grand jury for retaining classified government documents and obstruction of justice he retained at his Florida estate after leaving the White House. It is the second indictment of Trump and the first-ever federal indictment of a former president in the US.
This is arguably the most perilous of multiple legal threats against the former president as he seeks to reclaim the White House. He has been indicted on seven federal criminal counts for retaining hundreds of classified government documents and even making false statements after leaving the White House. The seven counts against the former president include conspiracy to obstruct, willful retention of documents and false statements, according to people familiar with the indictment.
Trump posted on Truth Social that he has been summoned to appear in federal court in Miami on Tuesday afternoon. Within 20 minutes of his announcement, Trump began fundraising off it for his 2024 presidential campaign.
'I AM AN INNOCENT MAN!'
“I never thought it possible that such a thing could happen to a former President of the United States, who received far more votes than any sitting President in the History of our Country and is currently leading, by far, all Candidates, both Democrat and Republican, in Polls of the 2024 Presidential Election. I AM AN INNOCENT MAN!” Trump wrote on the social media platform. “This is indeed a DARK DAY for the United States of America. We are a Country in serious and rapid Decline, but together we will Make America Great Again!” he added.
About the case
The case adds to deepening legal jeopardy for Trump, who has already been indicted in New York and faces additional investigations in Washington and Atlanta that also could lead to criminal charges. As the prosecution moves forward, it will pit Trump’s claims of sweeping executive power against Attorney General Merrick Garland’s oft-stated mantra that no person, including a former commander in chief, should be regarded as above the law.
The indictment arises from a monthslong investigation by special counsel Jack Smith into whether Trump broke the law by holding onto hundreds of documents marked classified at his Palm Beach property, Mar-a-Lago, and whether Trump took steps to obstruct the government’s efforts to recover the records.
Since then, the Justice Department has amassed additional evidence and secured grand jury testimony from people close to Trump, including his own lawyers. The statutes governing the handling of classified records and obstruction are felonies that could carry years in prison in the event of a conviction.
'I, and every American who believes in the rule of law, stand with President Trump'
US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has promised to use his position to come to Trump’s defense, echoing the former president’s claims that the indictment was politically motivated. Calling it a “dark day” for the country, the top Republican in the House tweeted, “it is unconscionable for a President to indict the leading candidate opposing him.” Claiming that Biden also kept classified documents, he said, “House Republicans will hold this brazen weaponization of power accountable.”
The classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, along with thousands of other unclassified government records, were taken from the White House to the Florida club after Trump left office in January 2021. The Justice Department has said Trump and his lawyers repeatedly resisted efforts by the National Archives and Records Administration to get the documents back. After months of back-and-forth, Trump representatives returned 15 boxes of records in January 2022, including about 184 documents that officials said had classified markings on them.
(With AP inputs)