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Trump Indicted In Documents Case, Expected In Miami Court Tuesday

 


The Justice Department lodged federal criminal charges against Donald Trump, following an investigation into his handling of classified documents upon leaving office and into whether he obstructed the government’s efforts to reclaim them. It remains unclear precisely what materials were found at his Florida residence and what national security damage his possession of them caused, if any.

The indictment, According to  The Times is the first time a former American president has faced federal charges. It puts the nation in an extraordinary position, given Trump’s status as the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination to face President Biden, whose administration will now be seeking to convict his potential rival.

Trump was charged with a total of seven counts, including willfully retaining national defense secrets in violation of the Espionage Act, making false statements and conspiracy to obstruct justice, according to people familiar with the matter. He is expected to surrender himself to authorities in Miami on Tuesday.


The indictment came about two months after prosecutors in New York filed more than 30 felony charges against Trump in a case connected to a hush money payment to a porn star in advance of the 2016 election. The former president still faces other open criminal investigations.

Why is this case so important


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It’s the first time Trump has faced federal charges, and if convicted, they carry much weightier sentences than those he faces in a separate case relating to hush money payments. In that indictment – made in March, Mr Trump was charged with falsifying business records, which is classified as a misdemeanour punishable by up to a year in prison. It can become a felony charge with a maximum sentence of four years if it is carried out with the purpose of concealing another crime, such as election law violations.


Trump has pleaded not guilty to the New York criminal trial, which officially starts on 4 December this year. This latest case the classified documents investigation could see him face a sentence of up to 20 years if convicted.

The case was first triggered in 2021, when officials with the National Archives and Records Administration realised that important documents from Trump’s time in office was missing from their collection. In January 2022, the National Archives retrieved 15 boxes of documents from Trump’s Florida home, saying they contained “a lot” of classified material. In August last year, the FBI carried out a search of Mar-a-Lago, taking around 100 documents.

Over the last seven months, Special Counsel Jack Smith has heard from former White House officials, aides and most of the staff at Trump’s residence Mar-a-Lago. Audio of Trump talking about a classified document in his possession is among the pieces of evidence submitted by prosecutors.

Some of the seized papers have been reported to include intelligence work relation to China and Iran’s ballistic missile programme.

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