WASHINGTON DC, USA – Former U.S. President Donald Trump faces charges over the alleged unauthorized retention of classified documents after leaving the White House, marking his second indictment.
The 76-year-old is currently campaigning for a return to the presidency in 2024, and legal experts assert the indictment will not hinder his eligibility to run again.
Trump proclaimed his innocence on Truth Social, stating that he was scheduled to appear in federal court in Miami, Florida on Tuesday, June 13, 2023 where he would be arrested and officially hear the charges.
His attorney, Jim Trusty, reported to CNN that Trump received a summons detailing the charges, including conspiracy, false statements, obstruction of justice, and the illegal retention of classified documents under the Espionage Act.
Though the indictment has not been released to the public, the Department of Justice declined to comment. Special prosecutor Jack Smith, appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland, has been examining evidence since November.
Reports from last year disclose a search of Trump’s Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, during which approximately 11,000 documents were confiscated, including around 100 classified as top secret. Last week, it was reported that prosecutors acquired an audio recording of Trump acknowledging the retention of a classified document post-presidency, which contravenes U.S. law.
Trump maintains significant popularity among Republican voters, as evidenced by opinion polls, with his candidacy for the 2024 election largely unaffected by these legal developments.
Fellow Republicans have expressed their support for Trump amidst the charges, with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, calling the indictment an “unconscionable” act of political weaponization.
Potential 2024 rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, criticized what he perceives as an uneven application of law based on political affiliation.
Another contender, Vivek Ramaswamy, committed to pardoning Trump if he wins the presidency, while Asa Hutchinson emphasized that Trump’s actions should not represent the entirety of the Republican Party.
Aside from these recent charges, Jack Smith also oversees an ongoing probe into Trump’s role in the 2021 Capitol storming.
Earlier this year, Trump faced his first criminal charges as a former president over alleged falsification of business records related to a hush-money payment, to which he pleaded not guilty.
A trial for this case is set for next year in New York.