WASHINGTON — As Donald Trump prepares for his first court appearance as the first former president to face federal criminal charges, the detailed indictment has been released, he has changed lawyers, the one of his collaborators was also charged and his file was entrusted to a judge he appointed.
The frenzy of activity accompanied the release of a 38-count indictment against Trump and his personal valet, Walt Nauta. Trump’s initial appearance in federal court is scheduled for Tuesday in Miami and he has declared his innocence.
Trump is scheduled to speak in Georgia on Saturday afternoon and in North Carolina on Saturday night for the states’ GOP conventions, the first opportunity to respond live to the public to the indictment. He blasted the case as a political suit engineered by his rival, President Joe Biden.
Trump has vowed to continue campaigning for president in 2024 despite the federal indictment and previous indictment he faces in New York for allegedly falsifying business records to pay silent money . He pleaded not guilty in New York.
Here are four takeaways from the case so far:
What’s in the indictment?
In broad terms, the indictment accuses Trump of keeping classified documents after he left the White House, suggesting his attorney falsely told the FBI and grand jury he didn’t have the records, and ordering Nauta to move boxes of documents to hide them. the lawyer, the FBI and the grand jury.
Trump is accused of not only storing and hiding the documents, but of showing them to guests at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. He said one document described a “plan of attack” and another contained a map of a military installation, according to the indictment. He would have known the documents were classified, saying “it’s still a secret,” according to the indictment.
Trump faces 31 counts of willfully withholding national defense information under the Espionage Act. The documents have been described as some of the most important secrets in the country, including “top secret”, requiring special treatment, the author determines who receives the documents and not to release them to foreign nationals, according to the act of charge.
Trump and Nauta face one count each of conspiracy to obstruct justice, withholding a document or record, corruptly concealing a document in a federal investigation, concealing a document in a federal investigation and attempted cover-up.
“We have one set of laws in this country and they apply to everyone,” said Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith, who led the investigation. “Enforcing these laws, collecting facts, that’s what determines the outcome of an investigation.”
Who is Walt Nauta?
Nauta, a Navy veteran who worked in the White House for Trump and accompanied him on his move to Mar-a-Lago, was charged with Trump in the documents case. Nauta was unofficially known as Trump’s “body man”, or the person frequently at his side.
Nauta is charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice, concealment of documents and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Nauta is accused of moving boxes of documents to conceal them from Trump’s lawyers and prevent them from being turned over to the FBI, according to the indictment.
Nauta’s attorney, Stanley Woodward, declined to comment on the indictment.
Trump praised Nauta in his Truth Social post on Friday, saying the Navy veteran “proudly served with me in the White House, retired as senior chef, then moved on to private life. as a personal assistant.
Trump changes lawyer to go to court
Trump announced Friday that a new attorney, Todd Blanche, will defend him against federal charges. Blanche was involved in his criminal case in New York state, where he is accused of falsifying business documents to pay silent money to women who claimed to have had sex with him.
Chronology of the case of the documents: Timeline: The Journey of Trump’s Classified Documents
Blanche will succeed lawyers Jim Trusty and John Rowley, who led of trump federal prosecution team. Trusty appeared on CNN Thursday to respond to the charges. Trump thanked the two, but said he would announce more attorneys in the coming days.
Trump pleaded not guilty in New York case and awaits trial in March.
Judge familiar with the investigation
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who was appointed to the bench by Trump, was first assigned to the documents case.
She is familiar with the investigation as she ordered a special handler to examine the documents after the FBI seized them during a search in August. Trump requested the review arguing that the records could be barred from investigators due to attorney-client or executive privilege.
But the 11e The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned its order, saying a defendant traditionally challenges evidence in a case after charges have been filed.
“The law is clear,” said the three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. “We can’t write a rule that allows any subject of a search warrant to block government investigations after the warrant is executed. Nor can we write a rule that only allows former presidents to do so. “
What was found during the FBI search? : ‘Staggering’: Trump documents reveal flippant disregard for long-standing security protocols
Legal experts were divided on whether she should recuse herself from the case. But Nancy DePodesta, a former assistant U.S. attorney in Illinois who now practices white-collar law and government law at Saul Ewing, said the decision to pursue the case in Florida made sense because that’s where the crimes would have been committed.
“It eliminates any fighting on the spot,” DePodesta said. “It’s common sense. That’s where the documents were.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 4 takeaways from Donald Trump’s indictment for classified records