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Business News/ News / World/  Donald Trump indicted: Former US President faces criminal charges for retaining classified documents

Donald Trump indicted: Former US President faces criminal charges for retaining classified documents

Former US President Donald Trump has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of retaining classified documents and obstruction of justice. He faces seven criminal counts, but the indictment remains sealed.

Donald Trump faces criminal charges for retaining classified documents, obstruction of justicePremium
Donald Trump faces criminal charges for retaining classified documents, obstruction of justice

Former U.S. President Donald Trump has been indicted by a federal grand jury, according to a source familiar with the matter, on charges of retaining classified government documents and obstruction of justice.

This new criminal case, brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, adds to Trump's legal challenges as he seeks to regain the U.S. presidency next year. He already facing a separate criminal case in New York that is scheduled for trial in March.

Taking to social media, Trump said that he had been summoned to appear at the federal courthouse in Miami on Tuesday. He wrote on his Truth Social platform, “I AM AN INNOCENT MAN!". "

Trump's legal team has not yet responded to requests for comment, and it is illegal for the government to publicly comment on any sealed grand jury proceedings.

A spokesperson for Special Counsel Jack Smith, the Justice Department official who is overseeing the investigation, declined to comment.

According to a source who spoke on condition of anonymity., Trump is facing seven criminal counts in the federal case. The indictment remains under seal, and Trump himself has not been privy to its contents. His legal team was informed about the seven charges as part of a summons for Trump's court appearance in Miami on Tuesday.

The specific charges against Trump have not been disclosed by Reuters at this time. However, in a sworn statement made to a federal court last year, an FBI agent stated that there was probable cause to believe that several crimes had been committed, including obstruction and the illegal retention of sensitive defense records.

The Justice Department has been conducting an investigation into whether Trump mishandled classified documents he retained after leaving the White House in 2021.

Approximately a year ago, investigators seized around 13,000 documents from Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. Among them, 100 were marked as classified, despite one of Trump's lawyers previously claiming that all records with classified markings had been returned to the government.

Trump has previously defended his retention of documents, suggesting that he had declassified them during his presidency. However, he has not provided evidence to support this claim, and his attorneys have not made that argument in court filings.

This marks the second time that Trump, the first former U.S. president in history to face criminal charges, has been indicted. Earlier in April, he pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts relating to the falsification of business records linked to hush money paid to a porn star before the 2016 election.

While Trump remains the front-runner in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, his ability to weather controversies that might affect other politicians is notable. He portrays himself as the victim of a politically motivated witch hunt and criticizes the Justice Department for alleged partisan bias.


In addition to this case, Special Counsel Smith, appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland last year, is leading a separate criminal investigation into efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden. Despite Garland's appointment by President Biden, special counsels investigating politically sensitive cases typically operate with some degree of independence from Justice Department leadership.

Regarding the current case, the Justice Department is examining whether Trump unlawfully removed classified documents when he left office in January 2021. The investigation also includes a focus on whether Trump or others attempted to obstruct the government's inquiry.

The investigation into the mishandling of classified documents began in 2022 after the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration spent over a year attempting to retrieve presidential records from Trump.

In January 2022, a year after leaving office, Trump handed over 15 boxes of records. However, federal officials became suspicious that he had not returned all the government documents he had taken.

In May 2022, the Justice Department issued Trump a grand jury subpoena, requesting the return of any other records with classified markings. 

Trump's attorneys handed over 38 pages marked as classified to FBI and Justice Department officials and showed them a storage room at Mar-a-Lago, but they did not allow the agents to open any of the boxes.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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Updated: 09 Jun 2023, 07:11 AM IST
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