The federal indictment against former President Donald Trump has been unsealed.
CNN reported that not only does the indictment lay out the case against Trump but also the case against Walt Nauta, an assistant to the former president.
This is the first confirmation from the Department of Justice that there is a criminal case being brought against Trump, The Associated Press reported. Trump announced the indictment himself on Thursday night with no confirmation coming from federal officials.
CNN reported that both Trump and Nauta are charged in a 37-count indictment, that includes 31 counts of willful retention of national defense information.
They are also both facing a count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Initially, it was thought that Trump was indicted on seven counts.
The Washington Post reported that the legal filing goes into detail about the allegations set by the Department of Justice including what information some of the documents contained — “defense and weapons capabilities of both the United States and foreign countries; United States nuclear programs; potential vulnerabilities of the United States and its allies to military attack; and plans for possible retaliation in response to a foreign attack.”
The indictment said that Trump was “not authorized to possess or retain those classified documents” in reference to the “scores of boxes, many of which contained classified documents” that he took to Mar-a-Lago -- his property in southern Florida.
The government alleges that Trump stored them in various areas of the club including a ballroom, bathroom, shower, office, bedroom and storage room, the Post reported.
As of January 2021, when Trump left office, the filing said that the club had more than 150 full-time, part-time and temporary employees, as well as hundreds of members, CNN reported.
The indictment on page 10 showed a photo of several boxes on the stage of Mar-a-Lago’s White and Gold Ballroom. Page 11 has a string of text messages about moving the boxes into storage, including putting them in a shower “where his other stuff is.”
The indictment on page 8 said that the documents came from or involved various government agencies including the CIA, the Department of Defense and the National Security Agency, among others.
At one point, according to the indictment, Nauta said that he had found several of the former president’s boxes had fallen and what was inside of them had spilled to the floor. One of the documents he saw had a demarcation of “SECRET//REL TO USA, FVEY” meaning that “the document was releasable only to the Five Eyes intelligence alliance consisting of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States,” the filing says on pages 13 and 14.
Not only were the boxes stored at Trump’s Florida club, but some of the boxes were also taken to his property in New Jersey: The Bedminster Club, which “was not an authorized location for the storage, possession, review, display or discussion of classified documents,” according to page 14 of the indictment.
CNN reported that the DOJ brought a charge of obstruction because Trump tried to block the investigation by instructing his attorney to tell the Justice Department that they didn’t have any of the papers that had been subpoenaed.
Then the former president allegedly told Nauta to move the documents and hide them from his legal team as well as the FBI. Trump allegedly went so far as to suggest that his lawyer “hide or destroy documents” that were listed in the subpoena, the indictment said.
Trump spoke out on Truth Social after the indictment was unsealed, calling special counsel Jack Smith “deranged” and a “Trump Hater.” In another post, Trump said “Under the Presidential Records Act, I’m allowed to do all this. Under the Clinton Socks Case, the decision is clear. There was no crime, except for what the DOJ and FBI have been doing against me for years.” Trump in a third post said, “I had nothing to hide, nor do I now. Nobody said I wasn’t allowed to look at the personal records that I brought with me from the White House. There’s nothing wrong with that....”
Smith during a short news conference said that Trump is innocent until proven guilty and that the Justice Department will pursue a “speedy trial.”
Check back for the latest on this developing story.
2023 Cox Media Group