Former US President Trump Faces Serious Charges
Former US President Donald Trump has been charged in connection with the discovery of confidential documents found in his possession after he left office on thirty-seven counts. The US Justice Department alleges that Trump engaged in conspiracy to obstruct investigations. The charges include seven categories of offenses. Trump is accused of intentionally retaining national defense information, which falls under the US Espionage Act and carries a penalty of up to ten years in prison.
Secret files stored in the bathroom and storerooms
The case revolves around Trump's handling of confidential government records after leaving the White House. The indictment states that some of the boxes containing intelligence documents were temporarily stored in a room in Trump's private residence, Mar-a-Lago, where public events were held. "Trump stored his boxes of confidential documents in various locations in the Mar-a-Lago Club, including a ballroom, a bathroom and shower, an office, his bedroom, and a storeroom," the indictment says, and accompanying photos were added to the charge. Trump allegedly showed secret documents to others on at least two occasions. A document confiscated from Trump in June 2020 also contained information about another country's nuclear capabilities.
Special Investigator promises "expeditious legal process"
At a press conference, Special Investigator Jack Smith promised an "expeditious legal process." "Note that the defendants in this case are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court," said Smith. However, the indictment demonstrates the "scope and seriousness" of the charges against Trump. Trump's personal assistant has also been charged. Smith stressed that protecting national defense information is crucial to US security. "Violations of these laws put our country in danger," Smith said.
First indictment of a former President at the federal level
The FBI searched Trump's Florida property in August, seizing numerous classified documents, some of which were of the highest secrecy level. Given that the former president kept the documents in his private home long after leaving office, he may have committed a crime. After Trump officially announced his intention to run again in the 2024 election in November, the Justice Department appointed independent special investigator Smith to outsource politically sensitive investigations against him. It is the first time an indictment has been filed against a former US president at the federal level.
Biden denies talking to Justice Secretary
Incumbent Joe Biden said on Friday that he has had no contact with Justice Secretary Merrick Garland. "I haven't talked to him at all, and I'm not going to. And I have no comment on that," Biden said. This refers to allegations by Trump and his supporters that he was abusing the power of his office to get rid of Trump as a political opponent. In the past, Biden has repeatedly said he neither gives instructions to nor contacts the Justice Department on the case.
Trump faces more lawsuits
Trump responded to the new indictment on his social media platform, Truth Social. There, he personally attacked Special Investigator Smith, saying his wife was a "Trump hater."
Trump was already charged in April in connection with payments made to a porn star at the state level in New York. He was also held accountable in court for sexual assault in a civil lawsuit a few weeks ago.
Until now, the allegations regarding the documents are the most significant legally. However, Trump is still being investigated in other cases related to his attempts to overturn the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. Therefore, more charges against him could follow, which could also be dangerous for him.