Revelations of the criminal indictment against Donald Trump, which centers around his handling of confidential government documents, have now come to light following the unsealing of the indictment a day after charges were filed against Trump in the U.S. District Court in Miami.
READ THE INDICTMENT BELOW FOLLOWING THIS ARTICLE.
The disclosure of the 37-count criminal indictment against the former President, alleging deliberate retention of confidential government documents and conspiracy to stop their return to American officials.
The charge sheet suggests that Trump held onto documents containing information crucial to national defense even after his departure from the White House. It was released to the public one day after a grand jury at the U.S. District Court in Miami voted for his indictment.
Among the accusations, the indictment states that Trump disclosed classified documents to several individuals in the summer of 2021, months after his presidency ended in January.
A key document was a “strategy of assault” which, according to Trump, was crafted by the Pentagon. Trump disclosed this to a publisher and author at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
“While I was in office, I could have declassified it,” Trump explained to them in a conversation in July 2021, recorded and quoted in the indictment.
“Now I can’t, you see, but it remains a secret,” he continued.
About a month later in Bedminster, Trump presented a “classified map related to a military operation” to a representative of a political action committee, and warned him about the consequences of viewing the map, the indictment reveals.
The indictment also charges Trump’s valet, Walter Nauta, with several similar offenses as his employer, with whom he allegedly conspired to withhold classified files and conceal them from a federal grand jury.
Trump was personally implicated in packing up boxes of documents in anticipation of his relocation from the White House to his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, the indictment claims.
An FBI operation at Mar-a-Lago in August exposed hundreds of classified documents that Trump had not returned to U.S. officials, despite their persistent attempts to retrieve them over the course of a year.
The indictment reveals that “On December 7, 2021, Nauta found several of Trump’s boxes toppled with their contents scattered on the Storage Room floor [at Mar-a-Lago] including a document labeled “SECRET//REL TO USA, FVEY,” indicating the information within was to be disclosed exclusively to the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, which includes Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.”
Jack Smith, Department of Justice special counsel, who was at the helm of the Trump investigation, in a televised address on Friday, pronounced, ″We have one set of laws in this country, applicable to all.”
“Laws protecting national defense information are critical to the United States’ safety and security, and they must be enforced,” Smith declared. “Violations of these laws jeopardize our nation,” he added.
Smith continues to supervise a separate criminal investigation into Trump’s attempts to overturn his loss to President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.
Both Trump, who is pursuing the Republican presidential nomination for 2024, and Nauta are set to appear in court in Miami for arraignment on Tuesday, just a day before Trump’s 77th birthday.
Trump and Nauta could each face a maximum of 20 years in prison if found guilty of the most serious charges, including conspiracy to obstruct justice and counts related to withholding and hiding government records.
The indictment accuses Trump in 31 counts of willfully retaining information vital to national defense.
Trump is also accused of obstructing justice; withholding documents or records; corruptly concealing documents or records; concealing documents in a federal investigation; scheme to conceal; and providing false statements and representations.
Trump fell under criminal investigation in spring 2022, following the discovery of classified documents in the 15 boxes of government records he handed over to the National Records and Archives Administration after months of effort by NARA to recover missing documents.
As per the law, presidents are required to hand over all government records to NARA upon leaving office.
The indictment notes, “Upon his departure from the White House, Trump had dozens of boxes, many filled with classified documents, transported to The Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, where he resided.”
“Trump was not authorized to possess or retain those classified documents,” the indictment asserts.
According to the indictment, Trump advised one of his lawyers to deceive the FBI and a grand jury by denying possession of the documents they sought. He directed Nauta to relocate boxes of documents to keep them hidden from his own lawyer, the FBI, and the grand jury.
In addition, the indictment accuses Trump of suggesting to his lawyer that documents be hidden or destroyed. He provided only a portion of the documents he retained to the FBI and grand jury while asserting his full cooperation.
Trump also caused a certification to be submitted to the FBI and grand jury, falsely representing that all documents had been produced when he knew that was not the case, as per the indictment.
The indictment anticipates that Trump’s trial would last anywhere between 21 and 60 days.
Earlier on Friday, two of Trump’s lawyers recused themselves from the case involving the classified documents and from the criminal investigation concerning the 2020 election.