WASHINGTON (Scripps News) — Former President Donald Trump says he has been indicted by a federal grand jury in relation to classified documents stored at his Mar-a-Lago residence.
Trump announced in posts on his Truth Social media platform Thursday night he was indicted in connection with improperly handling classified documents. The Department of Justice said it seized over 100 classified documents from Mar-a-Lago last year.
The former president said he was due in federal court in Miami on Tuesday, June 13.
The New York Times reported Trump faced charges of conspiracy to obstruct, making false statements, and willful retention of documents, citing sources familiar with the matter.
Two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press that Trump’s team had been informed of seven counts in total, shortly before Trump made his announcement on social media.
The Department of Justice did not immediately comment or confirm the indictment. The White House declined to comment on the developments, referring questions to the Department of Justice.
A federal indictment would make Trump the first sitting or former president to face federal charges.
Trump has not denied having the documents in his possession and has claimed that he declassified the documents before he left office.
“Number one, it was all declassified,” Trump wrote last year. “Number two, they didn’t need to ‘seize’ anything. They could have had it anytime they wanted without playing politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago. It was in secured storage, with an additional lock put on as per their request. They could have had it anytime they wanted—and that includes LONG ago.”
According to a search warrant made public by a federal judge, 28 boxes of evidence were taken from Trump’s residence, including multiple top-secret documents.
There were three potential criminal statutes listed in the original search warrant. In order to obtain a search warrant, officials would have to prove they have probable cause and that they would find evidence of a crime.
The statutes listed were:
18 USC 2071 — Concealment, removal or mutilation generally
18 USC 793 — Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information
18 USC 1519 — Destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in Federal investigations and bankruptcy
Federal grand juries are composed of 16-23 citizens. Their deliberations are considered secret.
In order for a grand jury to return an indictment, at least 12 jurors have to believe it is probable that someone committed a crime. Unlike a conviction, jurors can issue an indictment even if they have reasonable doubt.
An indictment would add to Trump’s ongoing legal entanglements. Trump was indicted in New York in March, in connection with payments he made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in 2016. That indictment made him the first sitting or former president to be indicted for a crime.
He was charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Trump issued a not-guilty plea in a Manhattan courtroom in April. The case likely won’t go to trial for a number of months.
Trump also faces investigation in Georgia, in connection with alleged attempts to interfere with the state’s 2020 presidential election results.
Regarding the latest charges, Trump’s campaign released a statement, saying in part, “President Trump will fight this unconstitutional abuse of power until he is ultimately vindicated. He will never stop fighting for the American people, and he will continue to work to restore the greatness of the United States of America.”
This story was originally published on June 8, 2023, by Scripps News, an E.W. Scripps Company.