What are the charges against Donald Trump and what happens next?

Mr Trump said he was summoned to the federal courthouse in Miami - AFP

Mr Trump said he was summoned to the federal courthouse in Miami – AFP

Donald Trump has been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly keeping classified government documents and obstructing justice, in another legal setback for the former president as he seeks to retake the presidency next year. .

The federal charges pose Trump’s greatest legal danger yet, less than three months after he was charged in New York with 34 counts of falsifying business documents.

Here’s a look at the charges and what the case means for Mr. Trump.

What is Donald Trump accused of?

The Justice Department investigated Mr. Trump for keeping classified documents and other government records at his Mar-a-Lago compound after he left the White House in early 2021.

Documents must be turned over to the National Archives when a president leaves office.

The former US president’s Florida estate was raided by the FBI in August 2022 and investigators have now recovered around 300 classified documents from the property.

The investigation was led by Special Counsel Jack Smith, the former chief prosecutor of The Hague.

What are the fees?

Mr. Trump has been charged with seven counts related to the mishandling of classified documents, including conspiracy to obstruct and willful withholding of documents, sources told The New York Times.

The indictment against Mr. Trump remains sealed. But once the document is made public, it will outline the crimes Mr. Trump is charged with.

It is the second time Mr Trump, the first former president in US history to face criminal charges, has been charged.

What does this mean for Trump?

This is significant as this is the first time the former president has faced federal criminal charges. The other pending criminal cases against Mr. Trump are in state court.

Mar-a-Lago, Mr Trump's home - GETTY IMAGES

Mar-a-Lago, Mr Trump’s home – GETTY IMAGES

The Justice Department usually chooses to bring only cases it thinks have a good chance of winning, suggesting the strength of the case against it.

That being said, in the days following his indictment in a Manhattan court for alleged silent payments, he raised $7 million in a matter of days, which could work as a big election fundraiser.

What did Trump say?

He claimed he was an “innocent man”, that the investigation was a “hoax” and a “witch hunt” and accused Joe Biden and the Democrats of election interference.

What triggered the investigation?

Officials from the National Archives and Records Administration contacted representatives of Mr. Trump in the spring of 2021 when they realized that important documents from his tenure were missing from their collection.

According to the Presidential Records Act, White House records are considered the property of the US government and must be retained.

A representative for Mr. Trump told the National Archives in December 2021 that presidential records had been found at Mar-a-Lago. In January 2022, the National Archives recovered 15 boxes of documents from Trump’s home in Florida.

Trump's aides carry boxes out of the White House on his last day in office in 2021 - GETTY IMAGES

Trump’s aides carry boxes out of the White House on his last day in office in 2021 – GETTY IMAGES

In May 2022, the FBI and the Justice Department issued a subpoena for the remaining classified documents in Mr. Trump’s possession. Investigators who collected the records received about three dozen documents and an affidavit from Mr. Trump’s lawyers attesting that the requested information had been returned.

But this claim turned out to be false. Armed with a search warrant, federal officials returned to Mar-a-Lago in August 2022 and seized more than 33 boxes and containers totaling 11,000 documents from a storage room and office, including 100 classified documents.

Who is Jack Smith?

Last year, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland selected Mr. Smith, a veteran war crimes prosecutor with experience investigating public corruption, to lead investigations into the presence of classified documents. at Mr. Trump’s estate in Florida.

Mr. Garland himself was chosen by Democratic President Joe Biden. Mr Smith’s appointment was therefore an acknowledgment of the politics involved in the investigation of a former president and current White House candidate.

Special advocates are appointed in cases where the Department of Justice perceives itself to have a conflict or when it is deemed in the public interest to bring in someone outside of government and take responsibility for a case.

What other charges does he face?

Attack on the Capitol on January 6

Jack Smith is also investigating Mr. Trump’s role in the actions surrounding his defeat in the 2020 presidential election that culminated in the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Mr. Trump had sought to block top aides, including his then-Vice President Mike Pence, from testifying in the weighed investigation by a separate DC grand jury. Mr. Pence appeared before the grand jury in April after Mr. Trump lost his legal challenge.

Attempt to annul the vote in Georgia

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is investigating whether Mr. Trump and others acted unlawfully to try to reverse his defeat in that state’s 2020 presidential vote. A charging ruling is expected in September.

The criminal investigation focuses in part on a phone call Mr. Trump made to fellow Republican Secretary of State for Georgia, Brad Raffensperger, asking him to “find” enough votes needed to undo Trump’s loss to Georgia. .

New York Silent Money Affair

In April, Mr Trump became the first former president in US history when he was indicted by a New York grand jury.

He pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business documents relating to hidden money paid to a porn star before the 2016 election.

Sexual abuse and defamation

Last month, a federal grand jury in Manhattan ordered Mr. Trump to pay $5 million in damages to E magazine columnist Jean Carroll after finding him responsible for sexually assaulting her in the 1990s, and then defaming her by lying about it in 2022.

She is seeking to amend a separate lawsuit to demand an additional $10 million after Mr Trump made public comments on CNN and his social media platform lambasting the verdict, denying he had ever met her and accusing him of making up the allegations.

Broaden your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph free for 1 month, then get a year for just $9 with our exclusive US offer.

Leave a Comment