Former President Donald Trump was indicted by federal prosecutors on Friday, with charges accusing him of mishandling unclassified documents and jeopardizing sensitive security secrets after leaving the White House in 2021. The Justice Department made the criminal charges public amid a tumultuous day that saw two of Trump’s lawyers resign from the case. The indictment includes 37 counts against Trump, with a former aide named Walt Nauta also facing charges.
Special Counsel Jack Smith unsealed the indictment against the former president Friday.indictment-trump
Trump is scheduled to appear in a Miami court for his initial court appearance on Tuesday, just a day before his 77th birthday. According to the indictment, the documents in question contain highly sensitive U.S. military secrets, including information regarding the country’s nuclear program and potential vulnerabilities in the event of an attack. One document specifically involved a foreign country’s support for terrorism against U.S. interests. These materials were sourced from various intelligence agencies, including the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the National Security Agency (NSA).
Prosecutors claim that Trump shared a Defense Department document labeled as a “plan of attack” against another nation with an unidentified individual. They further allege that Trump conspired with Nauta to withhold classified documents he had taken from the White House and conceal them from a federal grand jury. Nauta, who had worked for Trump at both the White House and Mar-a-Lago, is facing six counts in connection to the case.
During an FBI interview on May 26, 2022, Nauta allegedly provided false information by denying knowledge of how some documents ended up in Trump’s Mar-a-Lago suite. However, the indictment reveals that Nauta was actually involved in moving the documents from a storage room to Trump’s location. The indictment includes photographs showing Trump’s boxes in various places, such as a ballroom stage, a club bathroom, and a storage room, with some documents scattered on the floor.
Trump stored the documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and his golf club in New Jersey. The indictment claims that during this time, Mar-a-Lago hosted numerous events with tens of thousands of guests attending over 150 occasions. Prosecutors argue that the unauthorized disclosure of these classified documents poses a risk to U.S. national security, foreign relations, and intelligence gathering.
The indictment of a former U.S. president on federal charges is an unprecedented event in American history, and it comes at a time when Trump is a front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination next year. While Trump has maintained his support despite numerous lawsuits and scandals, the charges announced on Friday could provide his Republican rivals with an opportunity to criticize his record, particularly on national security.
Approximately a year ago, investigators seized around 13,000 documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. Out of these, 100 were marked as classified, even though one of Trump’s lawyers had previously claimed that all records with classified markings had been returned to the government.
After news of the indictment broke, Trump took to his Truth Social platform on Thursday, proclaiming, “I AM AN INNOCENT MAN!” Trump has previously asserted that he declassified the documents while serving as president, although his attorneys have not made that argument in court filings.
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who was appointed by Trump in 2019, has been assigned to oversee the case. She may also preside over the trial. However, her prior decision in favor of Trump during a critical stage of the case was subsequently overturned on appeal, generating headlines.
Judge Cannon will determine various aspects, including the trial date and potential sentencing if Trump is found guilty. It is worth noting that the charges in this federal case do not prevent Trump from campaigning or assuming office if he were to win the presidential election in November