Trump Indictment Unsealed In Documents Case

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MIAMI — Follow along for live updates on former President Donald Trump, who has been indicted on charges of mishandling classified documents at his Florida estate. The indictment marks the first time in U.S. history that a former president faces criminal charges by the federal government he once oversaw. Trump faces the possibility of prison if convicted.


What to know:

— Trump faces a string of inquiries in various states and venues as he campaigns for a return to the White House

— Trump’s case differs from those of other politicians known to have been in possession of classified documents

— Who is Jack Smith, the special counsel probing Trump’s role in the retention of classified documents and efforts to overturn the 2020 election?

— In spite of legal woes and a crowded GOP field, Trump has remained Republicans’ frontrunner for 2024

— Does the indictment stand to damage Trump’s standing with voters?



Trump described a Pentagon “plan of attack” and shared classified map related to a military operation, according to an indictment unsealed Friday.

The document marks the Justice Department’s first official confirmation of a criminal case against Trump arising from the retention of hundreds of documents at his Florida home, Mar-a-Lago.

Trump disclosed the existence of the indictment in a Truth Social post Thursday night as well as in a video he recorded.

The indictment accuses Trump of having improperly removed scores of boxes from the White House to take them to Mar-a-Lago, many of them containing classified information.



An indictment charging former President Donald Trump with mishandling classified documents has been unsealed.

The document released Friday marks the Justice Department’s first official confirmation of a criminal case against Trump arising from the retention of hundreds of documents at his Florida home, Mar-a-Lago.

Trump disclosed the existence of the indictment in a Truth Social post Thursday night as well as in a video he recorded.

People familiar with the matter have told The Associated Press that the indictment includes seven separate charges.



While the White House has been careful not to comment on Trump’s indictment, one of President Joe Biden’s Democratic primary rivals, Marianne Williamson, is speaking up to refute suggestions that the case is politically motivated.

The author and self-help guru called the case a “sobering development” and noted that Trump is innocent until proven guilty, but also not above the law.

She added that Jack Smith, who has been appointed special counsel in the case, is “independent and is not working at the behest of the Biden administration.”

“Such charges are false and those who are making them know that,” Williamson said in a statement, adding that “the goal of the system is to be an impartial witness to the facts.”

Many top Republicans have suggested the case against Trump is politically motivated. Trump himself has denounced what he calls the “weaponization of the Department of Justice” and also released a statement saying Smith has a history of being involved in “seriously flawed cases.”



Trump says he has picked a lawyer from his New York criminal case to represent him in his newly indicted federal classified documents case.

Trump posted Friday on his Truth Social platform that Todd Blanche will lead his defense in the federal case, along with “a firm to be named later,” replacing his previous lawyers, Jim Trusty and John Rowley.

Blanche, a respected white-collar defense lawyer, joined Trump’s legal team just before his New York indictment in March. Before that, he was a partner at the firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP. He’s also been a federal prosecutor in New York.

Blanche sat by Trump’s side at his Mar-a-Lago estate during a recent video hearing in the New York case and is spearheading efforts to get that matter moved from state court to federal court.

Blanche previously represented former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in getting state mortgage fraud charges thrown out on double jeopardy grounds, arguing the New York case was too similar to one that landed Manafort in federal prison.

Blanche also has represented Igor Fruman, an associate of Trump’s former personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who pleaded guilty in 2021 in a campaign finance case.

— Michael Sisak



Campaigning as a presidential candidate in New Hampshire, former Vice President Mike Pence said he was “deeply troubled” to see Trump’s indictment because he believes it will further divide the nation.

“It’s important for all of us to remember that no one knows the facts in this case, and as Americans, it’s essential to remember that you’re innocent until proven guilty,” Pence said Friday.

He called on the attorney general to make the indictment public: “You need to stand up and explain to us why this was necessary before the sun sets today.”

Nikki Haley, one of Pence’s rivals for the GOP presidential nomination, said in a statement that Americans are exhausted by “prosecutorial overreach.”

“This is not how justice should be pursued in our country,” said Haley, former ambassador to the United Nations and South Carolina governor. “It’s time to move beyond the endless drama and distractions.”

— Holly Ramer and Meg Kinnard



The White House is staying mum on the Trump indictment, emphasizing the independence of the Justice Department, as it seeks to combat criticism from Republicans that the Biden administration is targeting his chief 2024 rival.

“We are just not going to comment on this case,” White House principal deputy press secretary Olivia Dalton told reporters Friday on Air Force One, “and I’d refer you to the DOJ, which runs its criminal investigations independently.”

She added: “This is a president who respects the rule of law and has said that since day one. That’s precisely why we’re not commenting here. He believes in respecting the independence of the DOJ and protecting the integrity of their processes.”

Dalton said Biden and his staff “found out just like everybody else last night” that Trump was indicted from news reports and that the White House had “no advanced knowledge that this was coming.”

Asked whether the White House was preparing for any unrest as a result of Trump’s indictment, Dalton said “we’re always prepared” but declined to share any specifics or whether any outreach had been made to state and local officials in Florida.

— Zeke Miller



The federal case against Trump has been initially assigned to a judge he appointed who faced criticism over her decision to grant the former president’s request for an independent arbiter to review documents obtained during an FBI search of his Florida estate.

A person familiar with the matter says the case has been assigned to Judge Aileen Cannon, a former federal prosecutor who was nominated to the bench by Trump in 2020 and sits in Fort Pierce.

The move seems a rare bit of good news for Trump, at least given rulings last year that Cannon issued in his favor and in opposition to the Justice Department.

Cannon’s profile was thrust into the spotlight when she issued what many legal experts saw as an extraordinary decision to approve a so-called special master to review the documents seized by the FBI.

Some experts said the judge gave undue deference to the former president and put a hold on some Justice Department investigative work unnecessarily.

As part of that case, Cannon temporarily barred federal agents and prosecutors from reviewing a batch of classified documents seized during the search.

Her order was ultimately thrown out by a federal appeals court, which found she overstepped. The federal appeals court ended the independent review of documents.

— Eric Tucker



Some Republican voters who will get the chance to support Trump in next year’s GOP presidential primary are shrugging off the potential impact of the former president’s indictment — even as it continues to send shockwaves through the rest of the political world.

“Voters seem not to care about the indictment and will support him regardless,” said Valerie McDonnell, a New Hampshire state representative from Salem who was waiting to see Mike Pence make a campaign stop Friday in Derry, New Hampshire.

“From speaking to my constituents, they seem not to care about that,” she added.

Echoing that sentiment was Ken Hepworth, an independent voter from Derry who also was waiting to see Pence.

“I always think of the statement he made a few years back that, if he had killed somebody in the middle of Times Square, he wouldn’t lose any supporters,” Hepworth said. “I think he could be in jail and people would still vote for him, I don’t think that makes a difference.”

— Holly Ramer



Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, a frequent Trump critic, said in a statement that “like all Americans, Mr. Trump is entitled to the presumption of innocence.”

At the same time, Romney said he believes the charges are serious. The Justice Department has exercised “due care” and given Trump the time and opportunity to avoid charges that would not have been given to others, he said.

“Mr. Trump brought these charges upon himself by not only taking classified documents, but by refusing to simply return them when given numerous opportunities to do so,” Romney said.

Jun 9, 2023 - 2:00 PM ET



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