Former U.S. President Donald Trump. © Evan Vucci/AP
The discovery of top-secret documents in Trump's estate was a political scandal. One could only speculate about the status of the investigation. Now, apparently, a historic step is being taken.
Miami/Washington - Former U.S. President Donald Trump has been indicted again by the U.S. judiciary, according to his own words. His lawyers had been informed about the process, which apparently had to do with the investigation into the affair of secret government documents, wrote Trump at the portal he co-founded "Truth Social".
Trump had already been indicted in New York in connection with hush money payments to a star and brought before the judge at the beginning of April.
Secret documents in the private house
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had searched Trump's private estate Mar-a-Lago in Florida in August and seized various classified information, some with the highest level of secrecy. The fact that the Republican had kept the documents in his private home long after his departure from office could have made him liable to prosecution. The National Archives tried for months to get papers from Trump from his time in office. Although Trump's lawyers had finally handed over documents - but by no means all of them, as it turned out during the FBI search of the Mar-a-Lago estate." The corrupt Biden administration has informed my lawyers that charges have been brought against me, apparently for the fraud (of alleged secret documents) in boxes (...)," Trump wrote, without making it clear who exactly contacted his team. He had been summoned and had to appear in court in Miami on Tuesday at 15:00 p.m. (local time). "I never thought it possible that something like this would happen to a former president of the United States (...)," he wrote. He added, "I AM AN INNOCENT MAN!" It was "a dark day" for the United States.
On Wednesday, U.S. media had already reported that another indictment against Trump could be approaching because the team of special counsel Jack Smith had informed the Trump camp that the 76-year-old was the target of the investigation.
Trump described the actions of the US judiciary as "election interference at the highest level". In a video also published by Truth Social, he once again accused US President Joe Biden and his Democrats of conducting a politically motivated witch hunt against him. "They're trying to destroy our reputation so they can win an election," he said, addressing his supporters.
Also investigations on January 6
The U.S. Department of Justice had appointed the independent special investigator Smith in November to outsource the politically sensitive investigations against Trump. On the one hand, Smith takes care of the investigations related to secret government documents. On the other hand, it deals with Trump's role in the storming of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 and his efforts to influence the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
A committee of inquiry had recommended that the Ministry of Justice conduct a criminal investigation. Among other things, he accuses Trump of sedition, obstruction of a public trial and conspiracy against the US government. However, the Committee's recommendation is not binding.
Trump has long railed that his opponents are merely trying to prevent him from returning to the White House in 2024. He had officially announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination in November. So far, he is ahead in polls among party supporters - but a lot can still happen before the final decision.
Other cases in New York and Georgia
Further investigations are still underway against Trump. All eyes were recently on the case in New York, which led to the first indictment of an ex-president for a crime in US history and in which he pleaded "not guilty". In the state of Georgia, the prosecutor's office is also investigating Trump for possible election manipulation. In another case, Trump has already been prosecuted - at least indirectly. His real estate company was fined in New York for tax fraud, among other things. The ex-president had not been personally accused.
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Fancy a voyage of discovery?
US President Biden's classified government documents from his time as vice president under Barack Obama were also found in premises where they should not have been kept. Here, too, an independent special investigator is active. In Biden's case, however, there are significantly fewer documents at stake. According to the White House, Biden has not refused to hand over documents. Dpa