The former president of the United States, Donald Trump, has once again gone down in history during the night of this Thursday. Special prosecutor Jack Smith, appointed by the Department of Justice, has decided to charge the magnate for taking and hiding the classified documents that the FBI found in his Mar-a-Lago mansion in Palm Beach (Florida), and he must appear before the Federal Court of Miami on Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. (at 9:00 p.m. Spanish time) for his surrender and reading of charges. This has been communicated by Trump himself through his social network, Truth Social, and it has been confirmed by the main American media.
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The Department of Justice, dependent on the federal government, has not yet made public the charges for which the former president is charged, but several sources have confirmed that there are at least seven criminal charges. Among them, according to The New York Times, he is charged with willfully withholding national defense secrets in violation of the Espionage Act, making false statements, as well as conspiring to obstruct justice. This last charge implies the participation of another person in the commission of the crime.
Trump not only took more than 300 classified documents and tens of thousands of other government documents to his Palm Beach residence, he also refused to turn them over when required. Faced with such a refusal, the Department of Justice required FBI agents to search the mansion in August of last year. Trump has defended from the outset that he had the power to keep the classified documents when he left the White House, and has even claimed without evidence that he had declassified them.
Federal prosecutors recently obtained a recording of a meeting, which took place in the summer of 2021, after Trump left the presidency, in which the magnate acknowledged having in his possession a classified Pentagon document on a hypothetical attack on Iran, as published by the CNN last Friday. This and other incriminating evidence would have led to the indictment of Trump, who is still awaiting confirmation of him by the Justice Department.
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After the indictment that Trump received in April in New York -the first against an active or retired president-, where he was accused of 34 counts of falsehood for concealing payments to actress Stormy Daniels to buy her silence about an extramarital affair, the former president has once again gone down in history. For the first time, a former president has been indicted on federal charges, which are related to the exercise of his mandate. And if he is convicted of the seven criminal charges that are presumably charged against him, he could spend dozens of years in prison.
“The corrupt Biden Administration has informed my lawyers that I have been indicted, apparently for the hoax of the boxes, despite the fact that Joe Biden has 1850 boxes at the University of Delaware, plus boxes in Chinatown, DC, and even more boxes. at the University of Pennsylvania, and documents scattered all over the floor of his garage, where he parks his Corvette,” Trump posted on Truth Social, announcing his indictment to the world. “I am an innocent man. The Biden Administration is totally corrupt. This is electoral interference and the continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time, ”he said in a video posted on the same social network.
As he did with the indictment in New York, Trump has already begun using this indictment to victimize himself for political purposes. The candidate for the Republican primaries, who comfortably dominates the polls (with 53.8% of support, 32.5 points above second-ranked Ron DeSantis), said accusation did well politically, from which he has doubled his advantage with respect to the governor of Florida, and hopes to return to profit from this situation.
The most serious accusation of the former president
However, this case is different: in New York the former president will be tried for events related to his personal life, which happened before he was president, while in Miami he will be tried for taking hundreds of documents with information classified as “top secret” and “classified” during his years in office, and for refusing to hand them over when required. By way of comparison, Biden – who is also being investigated – only dozens of documents have been found and he turned them over to the Department of Justice when his advisers found them.
In addition to these two court cases, Trump also has pending accounts with the courts in Washington and Atlanta, where he is being investigated for his involvement in the assault on the Capitol and for trying to rig the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. For both cases, he could also face criminal charges, that is, they could imply more years in prison.
In all his court cases, Trump’s strategy is usually to try to drag out the process as long as possible, with resources, appeals and other legal strategies. This is how he has been doing it since before entering politics and it is expected that he will continue to do so with the cases that are looming over him. According to several legal experts, the former president’s delaying tactics could delay the start of the trial at least until the spring of next year, in the middle of the Republican primary process.