Donald Trump indicted for second time, claims innocence

Donald Trump indicted for second time, claims innocence

Former U.S. President Donald Trump has been indicted by a federal grand jury for retaining classified government documents and obstruction of justice.

The criminal case, brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, amounts to another legal setback for Trump as he seeks to regain the U.S. presidency next year.

He already faces a criminal case in New York that is due to go to trial in March

He is also being investigated by a special counsel over his role in overturning the 2020 election won by President Joe Biden.

Trump said on social media that he had been summoned to appear at the federal courthouse in Miami on Tuesday. “I AM AN INNOCENT MAN!” he wrote on his Truth Social platform.

A spokesperson for Special Counsel Jack Smith, the Justice Department official who is handling the investigation, declined to comment. It is illegal for the government to comment publicly on any sealed grand jury matter.

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Trump faces seven criminal counts in the federal case, a source told Reuters.

The indictment remains under seal, and even Trump himself has not yet seen what it says. His legal team was notified about the seven charges as part of a summons ordering Trump to appear in court, the source said.

Speaking on CNN, Trump lawyer Jim Trusty said those charges include conspiracy, false statements, obstruction of justice, and illegally retaining classified documents under the Espionage Act.

He said he expects to see the indictment between now and Tuesday.

The Justice Department has been investigating whether Trump mishandled classified documents he retained after leaving the White House in 2021.

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Investigators seized roughly 13,000 documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, nearly a year ago.

One hundred were marked as classified, even though one of Trump’s lawyers had previously said all records with classified markings had been returned to the government.

Trump has previously defended his retention of documents, suggesting he declassified them while president.

However, Trump has not provided evidence of this and his attorneys have declined to make that argument in court filings.

It marks the second time that Trump, the first former president in U.S. history to face criminal charges, has been indicted.

In April, he pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records relating to hush money paid to a porn star before the 2016 election.

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Special Counsel Smith, appointed last year by Attorney General Merrick Garland, is also leading a second criminal investigation into efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden, a Democrat.

President from 2017 to 2021, Trump is the front-runner in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

Through the years Trump has shown an uncanny ability to weather controversies that might torpedo other politicians. He describes himself as the victim of a politically motivated witch hunt and accuses the Justice Department of partisan bias.

Trump’s lead has grown over his rivals in the Republican nominating contest since he was indicted in the New York case, Reuters/Ipsos polling shows.

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