READ IN FULL: Trump’s indictment for mishandling classified documents
MIAMI (AP) Former President Donald Trump wrongly shared a Pentagon attack plan and classified map tied to a military operation, according to a 37-count indictment related to mishandling of documents classifieds that was unsealed on Friday and could instantly reshape the 2024 presidential race.
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The indictment paints an unmistakably damning picture of Trump’s handling of sensitive information, accusing him of deliberately defying Justice Department demands to return documents he took from the White House to Mar- a-Lago, enlisting aides in his efforts to hide the records and even telling his lawyers he wanted to challenge a subpoena for materials stored in his estate.
I don’t want anyone looking in my boxes, one of Trump’s lawyers said, according to the indictment. He also asked if it would be better if we just told them we have nothing here,” the indictment reads.
Making his first public statements, Jack Smith, the special counsel for the Department of Justice who filed the case, said: Our laws that protect national defense information are essential to the safety and security of the United States. United and they must be applied. Violations of these laws put our country at risk.
READ MORE: Trump-appointed judge whose past Mar-a-Lago rulings drew criticism initially assigned to federal case
He added: “We have a set of laws in this country and they apply to everyone.
The indictment comes at a time when Trump continues to dominate the Republican presidential primary and a day before a planned campaign trip to North Carolina. Although other candidates have widely attacked the Justice Department, rather than Trump, for the investigation, the breadth of the allegations and the startling scope of the indictment will be harder for Republicans to fight than an earlier criminal case in New York that many legal analysts had called weak.
The 49-page indictment document, alleging that Trump not only intentionally possessed classified documents, but also cavalierly and boastfully showed them to visitors, is startling in its scope and the breadth of the allegations. The indictment is based on Trump’s own words and actions as told to prosecutors by lawyers, close aides and other witnesses, with prosecutors even using against Trump his own words as a candidate and professing president. respect and know the procedures related to the handling of classified information. .
The indictment consists of 37 counts, 31 of which relate to willful withholding of national defense information, the remainder relating to alleged conspiracy, obstruction and misrepresentation which, taken together, could result in a one-year prison sentence.
Trump is due to make his first appearance in federal court in Miami on Tuesday. He was charged alongside Walt Nauta, an aide and close adviser to Trump who prosecutors say brought boxes from a storage room to Trump’s residence for him to examine and then lied to investigators. about movement. A photograph included in the indictment shows several dozen filing boxes stacked in a storage area.
Noting the tens of thousands of members and guests who visited the active Mar-a-Lago social club between the end of Trump’s presidency in January 2021 and the August 2022 raid, prosecutors argued that Trump had nevertheless stored the documents there, including in a ballroom, a bathroom and shower, and an office space, his bedroom, and a storage room.
READ MORE: What we know so far about the Trump documents indictment and what’s next
The case adds to heightened legal danger for Trump, who has already been indicted in New York and faces additional investigations in Washington and Atlanta that could also lead to criminal charges. But of the various investigations he has faced, legal experts as well as Trump’s own aides have long viewed the Mar-a-Lago investigation as the most perilous and mature threat to prosecution. Campaign aides had been bracing for the fallout since Trump’s lawyers were told he was the target of the investigation, assuming it was not a question of whether charges would be brought, but when.
Listing defense and foreign intelligence-related information included in the documents, prosecutors wrote that their unauthorized disclosure…could endanger U.S. national security, foreign relations, the security of the U.S. military, and human sources and the continued viability of sensitive intelligence gathering methods.
— Eric Tucker, Jill Colvin, Alanna Durkin Richer
Associated Press writers Bill Barrow in Atlanta, Michael R. Sisak in New York, Jill Colvin and Meg Kinnard in Greensboro, North Carolina, and Gary Fields and Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this report.
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