Former US President Trump has been indicted again. The judiciary accuses him of 37 counts – including offenses for which he faces up to ten years in prison. It is the first federal indictment against an ex-president.
Former US President Donald Trump faces 37 counts in connection with the discovery of classified documents in his possession after the end of his term in office. According to the indictment that has now been published, the US judiciary accuses Trump of conspiracy to obstruct the investigation, among other things.
A total of seven categories of offenses are listed. Among other things, Trump is accused of intentionally storing national defense information. This point falls under the US espionage law and can be punished with up to ten years imprisonment.
Secret files in the shower and storage room
The background is the affair surrounding Trump’s handling of secret government documents after he left the White House. The indictment states that some of the boxes of intelligence documents were temporarily stored in a room at Trump’s private home, Mar-a-Lago, where public events were held.
“Trump kept his boxes of classified documents in various locations at the Mar-a-Lago Club, including a ballroom, a bathroom and shower, an office, his bedroom and a storage room,” it said.
Corresponding photos were attached to the indictment. In at least two cases, Trump also showed secret documents to others. A June 2020 document seized from Trump also contained information on another country’s nuclear capabilities.
Secret files were also stored in a bathroom at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, Florida residence, according to the indictment.
special counsel promises “speedy court case”
In a press conference, the responsible special counsel Jack Smith promised a “quick trial”. “Note that the defendants in this case shall be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” Smith said.
However, the indictment shows the “scope and gravity” of the allegations against Trump. Trump’s personal assistant was also charged. Smith stressed that protecting national defense information is critical to US security. “Violations of these laws put our country at risk,” Smith said.
First indictment against an ex-president at the federal level
The FBI federal police investigated Trump’s property in Florida in August and confiscated numerous classified documents, some with the highest level of secrecy.
Because the ex-president kept the documents in his private home long after he left office, he could have made himself liable to prosecution. After Trump officially announced in November that he would run again in the 2024 election, the Justice Department appointed the independent special counsel Smith to outsource the politically sensitive investigation into Trump. It is the first time a federal indictment has been filed against a former US President.
Trump is threatened with further proceedings
Trump had already been charged at the state level in New York in April in connection with hush money payments to a porn star. In a civil proceeding a few weeks ago, he was held responsible for a sexual assault in court.
So far, the allegations in connection with the documents have weighed the most heavily from a legal point of view. However, other cases are being investigated against Trump in connection with his attempts to overturn the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. So further charges could possibly follow – and they could also be dangerous for him.