Local experts discuss unsealed Donald Trump indictment following classified documents case

Former President Donald Trump is facing federal charges in connection with his alleged mishandling of classified documents.
Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 10:07 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Former President Donald Trump is facing federal charges in connection with his alleged mishandling of classified documents. The Department of Justice released his second indictment on Friday afternoon.

Federal prosecutors allege the former president storing documents containing national secrets in his Florida home and even showing others on two occasions.

“Our laws that protect national defense information are critical for the safety and security of the United States and they must be enforced,” said Jack Smith, from Special Counsel.

The Justice Department unsealing a federal indictment on Friday which charges former President Donald Trump with 37 felony counts of mishandling of classified documents.

The 49-page indictment painting a picture of how the former president allegedly took classified documents to his home in Mar-a-Lago, Florida and shared sensitive information with others after leaving the White House, marking the first time a former president has faced federal charges.

Federal prosecutors said Trump stored the documents in boxes which contained information on:

  • Defense and weapons capabilities of both the U.S. And foreign countries
  • U.S. Nuclear programs
  • Potential vulnerabilities of the United States and its allies to military attacks
  • Plans for possible retaliation in response to a foreign attack

Trump is facing 31 counts of violating the espionage act for his “willful retention” of classified records, something criminal defense attorney Jeremy Powers said has both political and legal implications:

“There’s a political implication and a legal implication,” said Attorney Powers. “The political implication is what is it is, but the legal implication is very serious when you have mandatory minimums associated with some of the statutes he’s charged under. It’s considerably more serious than the indictment he faces out of the state of New York.  Anytime a federal indictment is involved, there are more serious penalties.  He’s also charged under the espionage act, which is serious in it of itself.”

Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal also weighed in on the indictment before it was unsealed Friday afternoon.

“I assume it will be a pretty discerning process,” said Congressman Neal. “I think that it is the obligation of the government as they outline the charges to make sure it’s obviously focused on the nature of the charges.”

As Trump has officially launched his bid for the 2024 presidential election many are wondering how this could alter his campaign.

Western New England University history professor John Baick said although the charges are serious, this situation will have little impact.

“He could run the country from a jail cell if he’s found guilty in New York state for example and sent to jail,” said Prof. Baick. “He could still run for the presidency. The secret service would have to provide him protection in jail.”

The former president is set to be arraigned in Miami on Tuesday, at which point the judge will consider the conditions of his release. Trump may have to post bail, but Powers told us that is an unlikely scenario.