What does Trump’s indictment mean? Can he still run for president? Here’s what you need to know

Former President Donald Trump was indicted by a federal grand jury on Thursday on charges related to his handling of classified documents seized at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida estate.

More than 300 classified documents have been recovered from Mar-a-Lago more than a year after Trump left, most in June and August 2022. In a separate case, Trump also faces 34 charges of falsifying business documents in New York for silent payments. He has pleaded not guilty and his trial is scheduled for March in the New York case.

Trump in Truth Social Thursday night said his lawyers had been told he had been charged, alleging the move was “election interference” and accusing President Joe Biden’s administration of being corrupt.

But what is an indictment? Can Trump still run for president now that he’s been indicted? Here’s what you need to know.

Donald Trump charged with seven counts in Mar-a-Lago classified documents case

Donald Trump charged with seven counts in Mar-a-Lago classified documents case

What does indictment mean?

An indictment is an official charging document that is used when a person is believed to have committed a crime. It includes charges against a person and must be filed before a case can move forward in court, former federal and state attorney David Weinstein previously told USA TODAY.

An indictment means a grand jury has decided there is ‘more likely than not’ sufficient evidence – based on testimony – to move forward with indicting a person, Weinstein said. In federal court, all cases proceed by indictment.

Can Trump still run for president if indicted?

Yes, Trump can continue his 2024 presidential campaign, even after being indicted again.

“Legally speaking, nothing prevents a former president from being indicted for a state crime, from running for office – even convicted,” Jessica Levinson, founding director of the Public Service Institute at Loyola Law School, told USA TODAY. “It really becomes a question of, practically, how could you run the country behind bars, if it ever came down to something like this?”

The Constitution sets out only three requirements to be president. You have to be:

Has Trump been arrested?

No, Trump was not arrested. If a person is charged, they are not immediately arrested.

Trump, in a statement on Truth Social on Thursday, said he was summoned to a federal courthouse in Miami at 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

What is a classified document?

A classified document includes information deemed sensitive by the government that may pose a potential threat to national security if released in an unauthorized manner. Most documents are classified for national security purposes.

There are different levels of classified information: top secret, secret and confidential. Each classification level ranks the seriousness of how the disclosed information could impact national security.

Contributor: Bart Jansen, USA TODAY

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump Indicted: What Does It Mean? Can he still run for president?

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