Trump has notified he is the target of an investigation over classified documents -ABC

By Dan Whitcomb and Sarah N. Lynch

(Reuters) – Federal prosecutors have told former U.S. President Donald Trump he is the target of an investigation into his handling of classified documents, ABC News reported on Wednesday, adding to his legal troubles as he campaigned to win the White House in 2024.

Politico separately reported that prosecutors sent Trump a letter notifying him that he was under investigation, but did not specify what the investigation was about. Reuters could not immediately confirm the information.

The Department of Justice usually notifies people when they become the target of an investigation to give them the opportunity to present their own evidence before a grand jury. Notification does not necessarily mean that Trump will be charged.

News of the notification to Trump’s legal team emerged just two days after his attorneys met with Justice Department officials to discuss the case.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Trump’s attorneys could not be reached for comment.

It was not immediately clear when Trump’s legal team received the target letter. Although there are signs that the investigation into the documents is coming to an end, the time a target letter is received cannot necessarily be used as an indicator of when charges could be laid, said David Schoen. , an attorney who represented Steve Bannon in his criminal contempt of Congress trial.

“Sometimes they are issued at the start of a long investigation and sometimes at the end of an investigation,” he said.

Trump, the front-runner in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has repeatedly called the multiple investigations politically motivated.

A federal grand jury has investigated Trump’s retention of classified documents after he left the White House in 2021.

A second criminal investigation examines alleged efforts by Trump and his allies to reverse his 2020 election loss to Democratic President Joe Biden.

A spokesman for Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the investigations, declined to comment.

In August 2022, investigators seized approximately 13,000 documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. About 100 of them were marked as classified, even though one of Trump’s lawyers had previously said that all files bearing classified marks had been returned.

Trump has defended his retention of the documents, suggesting he declassified them while president. However, Trump did not provide proof of this and his lawyers did not make this argument in court filings.

Trump is the first current or former president of the United States to face criminal charges, after pleading not guilty in April to felony charges brought by the Manhattan District Attorney for falsifying business records relating to the hidden money paid to a porn star ahead of the 2016 presidential race.

Trump handed over 15 boxes of documents in January 2022, a year after leaving office, but federal officials came to believe he had not returned all of the documents.

The Justice Department issued Trump a grand jury subpoena in May 2022 asking him to turn over any other records bearing classified marks, and senior officials traveled to Mar-a-Lago to retrieve the documents.

Trump’s lawyers turned over 38 pages marked as classified to FBI and Justice Department officials and showed them a storage room at Mar-a-Lago, but did not allow agents to open any of them. boxes.

One of Trump’s lawyers also signed a document stating that all records with classified marks had been returned to the government – a claim later proven to be false after the FBI raided his home.

Trump’s legal troubles are mounting.

In May, a jury in Manhattan federal court ruled in May in a civil lawsuit that Trump should pay $5 million in damages for sexually abusing former Elle magazine columnist E. Jean. Carroll, then defaming her by calling her a liar.

Trump is also facing a criminal investigation by a county prosecutor in Georgia over his efforts to reverse his 2020 election loss in that state.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles and Sarah N. Lynch in Washington; Editing by Ross Colvin, Noeleen Walder and Lisa Shumaker)

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