Former President Donald Trump was indicted on 37 serious federal charges related to his handling of classified documents after leaving the White House, according to the indictment released Friday. Among them, some on nuclear weapons and programs that "could put the national security of the United States at risk."
The charges against Trump include conspiracy to obstruct justice, willful withholding of national defense information and making false statements, according to the document, filed in federal district court in Miami.
Trump is expected to turn himself in to authorities on Tuesday and has already pleaded not guilty to all charges.
It is an unprecedented moment for the country: he is the first former president in the history of the United States to face federal charges and, as if that were not enough, he is today the main opposition candidate in the campaign for the White House in 2024. He is a big favorite in the polls within the Republican internal.
The 49-page indictment against Trump says that when he was president, he kept at his Sea-to-Lake home in Palm Beach, Florida, boxes containing documents on "defense capabilities and weapons of both the United States and foreign countries; the nuclear programmes of the United States; potential vulnerabilities of the United States and its allies to military attacks; and plans for possible retaliation in response to a foreign attack"
Disclosure of those documents, according to the indictment, "could jeopardize U.S. national security, foreign relations, the safety of the U.S. military and human sources, and the continued viability of sensitive intelligence-gathering methods."
A Trump opponent celebrates the indictment of the former president outside the White House in Washington on Friday. Photo: AFP
Trump denies any wrongdoing." I never thought it was possible that such a thing could happen to a former president of the United States, who received far more votes than any sitting president in our country's history, and currently leads, by far, all candidates, both Democratic and Republican, in the 2024 presidential election polls. he wrote on his social network Truth Social. "I AM AN INNOCENT MAN!"
The federal case against Trump is expected to be overseen at least initially by Judge Aileen M Cannon, the federal judge in Florida who last year appointed a special master in the case and temporarily halted the FBI's access to classified documents taken in a court-approved search. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
Boxes with documents in the bathroom and bedroom
When he left the White House in early 2021, Trump "had dozens of boxes, many of which contained classified documents, transported to be transported to The Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, where he maintained his residence," the indictment said, nothing he "was not authorized to possess or retain those classified documents."
Even though the club was not a secure facility for storing sensitive government secrets, Trump "stored his boxes containing classified documents at various locations at The Mar-a-Lago Club, including in a ballroom, a bathroom and shower, an office space, his bedroom and a storage room," the indictment says.
The document also accuses one of Trump's personal aides, Waltine Nauta, as a co-conspirator who helped obstruct the investigation into the former president's withholding of confidential defense documents at his Florida residence and resort.
There are alarming details. Prosecutors presented evidence that Trump shared a highly sensitive "plan of attack" against Iran to visitors at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, in July 2021, and was recorded describing the material as "highly confidential" and "secret," while admitting it had not been declassified.
In another incident in September 2021,he shared a top-secret military map with a member of his political action committee's personwho did not have a security clearance.
The filing includes many photos of what appear to be bankers' boxes, some with highly sensitive national documents, that were randomly moved by Nauta and other advisers at Trump's behest. Some of the boxes appear to be fallen, and on December 7, 2021, Nauta discovered that one of the boxes had fallen and spilled its contents on the floor.
The files that were spread on the carpet included the designation "SECRET/REL TO USA, FVEY," which meant they were meant to be viewed by officials in the United States and the United Kingdom. New Zealand and Australia with high-level security clearance.
This series of indictments adds to another case in which state prosecutors in New York charged Trump with 30 felony counts related to a hush-money payment made to a porn star, Stormy Daniels, before the 2016 election.