What charges is Trump facing? His lawyer describes the law on espionage, obstruction, conspiracy

WASHINGTON — Lawyers for Donald Trump did not receive the seven-count indictment Thursday when the former president was summoned to federal court in Florida, but one of his lawyers presented a summary of charges.

James Trusty told CNN the charges allege violations under the Espionage Act, which applies to national defense documents, willful withholding of documents, misrepresentation and several counts of obstruction, including conspiracy to obstruct justice. Trusty did not receive the actual indictment, but a summary of the charges with a subpoena from the former president.

“It doesn’t perfectly reflect an indictment, but it does contain language that suggests what the seven counts would be,” Trusty said.

Trump declared his innocence in a video statement and in social media posts. Trusty called the espionage law charge “ridiculous given the facts of this case.” He argued that the misrepresentation and obstruction charges are “kind of a crazy stretch just from the facts as we know them.”

“So there’s a lot to choose from on the defense side, but that seems to be the charges and that seems like something that’s going to take off on Tuesday,” Trusty said. “Everything about this business is absolutely rotten.”

Former President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower in New York on April 12, 2023.

Former President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower in New York on April 12, 2023.

Trump was charged after federal authorities recovered more than 300 classified documents he took with him to Mar-a-Lago when he left the White House in January 2021.

After a year of exchanging letters with the National Archives and Records Administration, Trump returned 15 boxes in January 2022 containing classified documents, including letters exchanged with North Korean leader Kim Jung Un. Prosecutors visited the estate in June with a subpoena and received more classified documents, with certification from Trump’s attorneys that it was all. But FBI agents seized other classified documents during a search in August.

The documents at stake bore labels suggesting they held some of the country’s best-kept secrets regarding national defense and the identities of spies overseas. Federal officials have a July 2021 audio recording of Trump discussing a classified Pentagon document on a possible attack on Iran, CNN reported, citing multiple unidentified sources.

Trump has repeatedly maintained that he can take documents with him after he leaves the White House, despite the Presidential Records Act giving ownership to the National Archives and Records Administration, and that he declassified them, despite the lack of documentation for his assertion.

“I have the absolute right to do whatever I want with them,” Trump said at a recent CNN town hall.

A conspiracy charge suggests more people could be charged. Trusty said Trump’s team was not made aware of anyone else’s indictment.

Trusty said he expects to receive the official indictment sometime before the court appearance.

“If they want to keep playing games, they’ll give it to us at 3:01 p.m. Tuesday,” he said.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: What charges is Trump facing? Attorney Contact Information, Litigation Allegations

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