The former US President, Donald Trump, is facing charges concerning his management of classified documents after he left the White House.
At 76, Mr. Trump has been hit with seven allegations, including the illegal retention of classified documents, as reported by the US media. These charges have not been made public as of yet.
This is the second time Mr. Trump has been indicted, marking the first instance a past president has received a federal indictment.
He is in the midst of campaigning for his return to the White House in 2024.
Mr. Trump voiced his claims of innocence on Truth Social and disclosed that he was summoned to appear at a federal court in Miami on Tuesday afternoon, where he is due to be arrested and charged.
“I never thought it’s possible that such a thing could happen to a former president of the United States,” he penned.
Furthermore, he commented, “This is indeed a dark day for the United States of America. We are a country in serious and rapid decline, but together we will Make America Great Again!”
His lawyer, Jim Trusty, revealed to CNN that Mr. Trump was informed of the charges via a summons document.
Trusty indicated that the charges encompass conspiracy, perjury, obstruction of justice, and unlawful retention of classified documents under the purview of the Espionage Act.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) opted not to comment and the indictment has yet to be made public.
An indictment is a document detailing the charges against an individual, thereby notifying them of any suspected criminal conduct.
In the coming days, the Secret Service is scheduled to coordinate with local law enforcement to orchestrate Mr. Trump’s trip to the Miami courthouse.
Special prosecutor Jack Smith has been examining evidence in this case related to documents since his appointment by Attorney General Merrick Garland in November.
Previously, Mr. Trump’s Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, underwent a search where 11,000 documents were confiscated, of which around 100 were classified, with some being labeled as top secret.
Last week, there were claims that prosecutors acquired an audio recording of Mr. Trump acknowledging the possession of a classified document after his departure from the White House.
Under US law, it is illegal for federal officials – including the president – to remove or retain classified documents in an unauthorized location.
Legal professionals assured that the indictment would not restrict Mr. Trump’s potential presidential candidacy.
“He can be indicted any number of times and it won’t stop his ability to stand for office,” David Super, a professor at Georgetown University Law Centre, stated.
Professor Super remarked that Mr. Trump could continue his presidential run even if convicted in the document case.
The real estate mogul and reality TV star is currently leading the Republican contenders for the White House, as per recent polls.
With the subject of a fundraising email being “BREAKING: INDICTED”, numerous key Republicans expressed their support for Mr. Trump.
Kevin McCarthy, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, commented that it is “unconscionable for a president to indict the leading candidate opposing him”.
“House Republicans will hold this brazen weaponisation of power accountable,” he posted on Twitter.
Ron DeSantis, Mr. Trump’s competitor for the 2024 nomination and Florida Governor, mentioned: “We have for years witnessed an uneven application of the law depending upon political affiliation.
“The DeSantis administration will bring accountability to the DOJ, excise political bias and end weaponisation once and for all,” he added.
Vivek Ramaswamy, another potential nominee, pledged to “commit to pardon Trump promptly on January 20, 2025, and to restore the rule of law in our country”.
However, Asa Hutchinson, a fellow candidate, stated that Mr. Trump’s alleged deeds “should not define our nation or the Republican Party”.
Earlier in April, Mr. Trump became the first ex-president to be criminally charged after he pled not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records regarding a hush-money payment to a porn star. He is due to stand trial in that case in New York next year.