Analysts: The indictment highlights former President Trump's active role in relation to classified documents

2023-06-10 18:35:20, Kosova & Bota CNA

Analysts: The indictment highlights former President Trump's active role in

US prosecutors released a 37-count indictment against former President Donald Trump on Friday, accusing him of compromising some of the country's most sensitive national security secrets after leaving the White House in 2021. Analysts say it shows that Mr. Trump, who has said he is innocent, played an active role in hiding the documents from authorities who wanted them.

According to the indictment, former President Donald Trump committed violations in the way he handled classified documents that included information about the US's secret nuclear program and the country's potential vulnerabilities in the event of an attack.

"Our laws that protect national security information are critical to the security of the United States and they must be enforced," special prosecutor Jack Smith, who is leading the investigation against the former president, said at a news conference.

Legal scholar Craig Green, a professor at Temple University School of Law in Pennsylvania, said the impeachment documents revealed that the former president took an active role in hiding the documents from authorities who were trying to obtain them.

"There are many details regarding the time of moving individual boxes from one place to another. "I think the biggest surprise to me is the degree to which Mr. Trump was personally involved in moving different boxes at different times," says Mr. Green.

Expert Green said that could help prosecutors convince a jury that Mr. Trump illegally tried to hide those sensitive documents.

"Questions of whether the hiding of documents was intentional become very important. The closer and more interested Trump has been to the location and the boxes, the harder it is for him to argue that it was just a mistake. It seems very clear that he was personally involved, that he had a lot to do with the location of the boxes. Then there are many suggestions that he knew full well that there were national defense documents and information inside the boxes," says legal expert Craig Green.

Former President Trump also discussed with his lawyers the possibility of lying to government officials seeking documents by hiding some boxes inside a toilet and moving other boxes to other parts of his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida. to prevent their finding, the indictment states.

"Wouldn't it be better if we told them we have nothing here?" former President Trump told one of his lawyers, - of 49 pages.

The unauthorized release of classified documents poses a risk to national security, foreign relations and intelligence gathering by the United States, the indictment states.

In theory, if convicted, former President Trump could serve decades in prison, but legal analysts said a federal judge has wide discretion and could impose a much lighter sentence, especially if Mr. Trump strikes a deal with outside prosecutors. trial, in exchange for pleading guilty.

“Over 90% of all federal cases end in plea bargains. Typically 2 to 3% of federal cases go to trial. Usually, a federal defendant will receive a much lower sentence by pleading guilty. On the other hand, if you plead not guilty and go to trial and lie, you may receive a higher sentence. In many cases, especially in the cases of officials or people in positions, they find it much more difficult to admit that they have done something wrong and to accept with their own will to face the consequences. I think that the former president will find it very difficult to accept such a thing", says the former federal prosecutor, Jennifer Beidel.

Mr. Trump has said he is innocent and has given no indication that he wants to negotiate a plea deal with prosecutors. He and his allies have portrayed the case as political revenge by Democratic President Joe Biden.

The White House said Mr. Biden had no prior knowledge of the indictment, and he later declined to comment when asked about it by reporters.

The indictment of a former president on federal charges is unprecedented in American history and comes at a time when Mr. Trump is the front-runner to secure the Republican nomination.

National security legal expert Mark Zaid said that contesting the charges in a lawsuit may be the best strategy for Mr. Trump.

"Mr. Trump is using this as a way to raise funds and strengthen his political campaign. From a political-strategic and legal point of view, this is not a bad strategy: to raise your voice as much as possible to increase the chances of winning the presidency because taking the presidency means that these federal charges disappear. As President of the United States, he can direct the Justice Department to drop charges against him. If he had been convicted by that point, he could at least try to pardon himself, which is a completely open constitutional question because we've never faced that," says Mark Zaid, a legal expert for national security issues.

Mr. Trump will appear for the first time in court in Miami on Tuesday, June 13, a day before his 77th birthday./ VOA

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