Trump creates history as the 1st US Ex- President to face criminal charges: Indicted for mishandling classified documents

On the 9th of June, 2023, Donald Trump became the first former U.S. President to be facing criminal charges. The US Justice Department indicted him with 7 charges, including violating the Espionage Act and obstruction of justice.

Background

The tables have turned on Mr. Trump who strongly criticized Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign for her use of a private server and is now facing charges from the US Justice Department itself.

Apart from the current charges, he is also dealing with criminal charges from the Manhattan District Attorney’s investigations regarding the payment of hush money to an adult film actor in 2016, a prosecutor in Georgia is looking into allegations of Mr. Trump and his supporters trying to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential elections, and it is anticipated that charges will be brought forth in August.

The indictment came from a federal grand jury. The grand jury’s role is to assess whether there is sufficient evidence to establish “probable cause” and warrant a trial for an individual accused of a crime. If the grand jury concludes that there is enough evidence, they will issue an indictment against the defendant.

Trump has been summoned by the Federal Courthouse in Miami to appear at 3pm on Tuesday.

Former US President Donald Trump indicted for mishandling top-secret documents on Friday, 9th June 2023. credit: NDTV

Charges faced by the Ex-President

Mr. Trump is facing a total of 37 charges, which include offenses like wilful retention of national defence information, conspiracy to obstruct justice, corrupt concealment of documents, and making false statements.

These charges were filed by Jack Smith, a Special Counsel appointed by the Justice Department. If convicted, Trump will face a potential prison sentence of 20 years for each of the charges.

According to prosecutors, Mr. Trump intentionally held back sensitive documents despite their explicit request for their return. These documents were eventually obtained in the form of 33 boxes through a search warrant executed at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.

While all the documents that were in Trumps possession have not been declared, it has been reported that the documents were from the Pentagon, National Security Agency, CIA, and other intelligence organizations.

The indictment stated that the information in question encompassed details concerning the defence and weaponry capabilities of the United States and other nations, United States nuclear programs, potential vulnerabilities of the United States and its allies to military aggression, and strategies for potential retaliatory actions in the event of a foreign attack.

Trump’s Defence

Mr. Trump, a leading candidate has quickly adopted a political stance, referring to the cases as a “Democratic witch hunt” and has urged his followers not to let the country fall into the hands of the radical Left.

Tump denied the charges by claiming that he had declassified the documents, simply by saying that they were declassified and not by an official decree. He immediately claimed that he is “AN INNOCENT MAN”, on his social media platform 20 minutes after being informed about the indictment.

The party presided by Trump, the Republican Party, has also strongly voiced its support towards Trump along with accusing the current ruling party of using the law enforcement system as a weapon for politics.

Additionally, Trump accused the Biden Government of mishandling official documents. In a statement he wrote on the Truth Social platform, he claimed the current U.S. President was harbouring 1850 boxes containing official documents, at the University of Delaware, University of Delaware, in Chinatown, and his own garage.

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