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Could Donald Trump face prison time because of secret files?

Could Donald Trump face prison time because of secret files? Donald trump news.

Donald Trump

Former US President Donald Trump has been criminally charged for the second time in months.

This time, the topic is how he handled sensitive documents after leaving the White House. At his Florida estate Mar-a-Lago, thousands of documents were seized by the FBI during a search last year, including about 100 classified documents.

He is charged with maintaining highly sensitive documents at the property, including in a ballroom, a bathroom, and even a shower, including files about US military plans and a nuclear program, according to a 37-count indictment made public on Friday.

According to legal experts, if Mr. Donald Trump, who is running for president once more in 2024, is found guilty of the criminal charges against him, he could spend a significant amount of time behind bars.

He has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and stated that he “never thought it possible that such a thing could happen to a former president of the United States”.

Here’s what to know, and what to expect next.

Could Trump be jailed if convicted?

According to court records, Mr. Donald Trump is accused of obstruction of justice, making false statements to law enforcement, and possessing classified information without authorization on 37 criminal counts.

The charges under the Espionage Act include 31 counts of willful retention of information related to national defense.

The maximum sentence for these offenses, according to the indictment, is ten years in prison.

There is a 20-year sentence cap on four additional counts related to conspiracy and hiding or withholding documents.

The final two counts—the scheme to conceal and make false statements and representations—carry five-year sentences each.

“These charges are extremely serious,” Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond in Virginia, said. “There’s an unbelievable amount of detail there, and much of it is very damning.”

He continued that there is a “strong case for the government” given the level of detail and the “very troubling” allegations regarding the improper handling of sensitive national security information.

“Of course, this all has to be proved,” he said. “But there’s so much information [in the indictment] that seems persuasive to me, and could well be to a jury. Apparently, it already was for the grand jury.”

All the information of this news was collected from BBC news

When will Donald Trump be arrested?

Mr. Donald Trump announced on his social media network Truth Social that he will be required to appear in court on Tuesday, June 13 in Miami.

A law enforcement official told the US affiliate of the BBC, CBS News, that the US Secret Service met with the former president’s staff and the Secret Service agents tasked with looking after him on Friday.

The night before his court date, Mr. Donald Trump would travel to Miami, as confirmed on Friday.

Donald Trump

Will he be handcuffed and fingerprinted?

Before the indictment became public, Mr. Tobias told the BBC that Mr. Trump’s arrest would probably proceed in a manner similar to that of his April arrest on suspicion of falsifying business records in connection with alleged payments made to Stormy Daniels in hush money.

At the time, Mr Donald Trump handed himself over to authorities in New York and appeared in court to plead not guilty. He was fingerprinted but he was not put in handcuffs and did not have a mugshot taken. Donal tromp related post

Mr Tobias said it was unlikely that Mr Donald Trump would be handcuffed or have his mugshot taken this time.

Given his stature as a former president and the remote possibility that he poses a flight risk, Mr. Tobias said, “I think that is unlikely.” “I don’t think they need to use those types of procedures,” I said. “He’s going to show up to at least negotiate or fight.”

Mr. Trump will be taken into custody once the necessary paperwork for his arrest has been filed. He would be arraigned after the paperwork is processed, which means he would hear the charges and enter a plea in court.

What is the case about?

When Mr Donald Trump left office in January 2021, he was supposed to hand over all presidential records, which are considered federal property.

It is illegal for federal officials, including former presidents, to remove or keep classified documents at an unauthorized location.

But just months after Mr Donald Trump left the White House, the US National Archives realized that some records were missing.

These included some of Mr Trump’s correspondence with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and a letter that former president Barack Obama left for Mr Donald Trump when he left office.

The agency requested the records, and some were handed over.

In August 2022, the FBI searched Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property, seizing a further 11,000 documents, some of which were marked as classified or top secret, and some which were marked “TS/SCI”, a designation for material that could cause “exceptionally grave” damage to US national security.

Other items included a binder of photos, a handwritten note, unspecified information about the president of France, and a clemency letter written on behalf of long-time Donald Trump ally Roger Stone.

Prosecutors now believe that Mr Trump knowingly kept some of those documents – and worked to hinder the investigation and efforts to retrieve them.

What has Trump said about the case?

Mr Trump has reacted angrily to the indictment, calling it a politically-motivated “scam”. He has also claimed he “had nothing to hide” and supplied the documents “openly”.

In a series of Truth Social posts – as well as a video – Mr Donald Trump repeatedly said he was innocent and characterized the indictment as “political warfare” against him before the 2024 election.

Former President Trump Insists He Did Nothing Wrong While Getting Indicted | EWTN News Nightly

He has used a variety of arguments to defend his handling of the documents, including that he declassified the documents before they were discovered.

While presidents have previously declassified documents directly, there is no evidence that Mr Trump did so or followed any existing procedure.

Mr Trump has also argued that some of the documents were personal and protected by executive privilege. This would mean that there was no requirement to turn them over to the national archives when he left office – the very premise of the case.

“Nobody said I wasn’t allowed to look at the personal records that I brought with me from the White House,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with that”.

The argument has largely been dismissed by legal experts. 

David Super, a professor at Georgetown University Law Centre, told the BBC that he believes Mr Trump’s lawyers are likely to argue that the former president was just a “really bad file clerk”.

A key aspect of the case could be an audio recording in which Mr. Trump reportedly said he knowingly kept documents and acknowledged he was limited in his ability to declassify them.

If this were true, Mr Super said that “it pretty much sinks him, because that shows that he knows the things he’s been saying in public are not true”.

How would charges affect Trump’s presidential campaign?

Under US law, nothing prevents an individual from running for office if they are facing criminal charges.

“If he is charged and if he is found guilty, it could pose a political problem for him. People might second-guess their decision to vote for him, “said Carl Tobias. However, I don’t believe that will necessarily stop him from participating.

At least two candidates for president have previously run while having a criminal record. In 1920, socialist candidate Eugene Debs ran for president despite having been convicted of the Espionage Act in connection with a 1918 anti-war speech.

Lyndon LaRouche, a conspirator who was found guilty of fraud in 1988, ran for president on numerous occasions. While he was incarcerated in a federal prison in Minnesota, he ran for president in 1992.

Both lost their elections. To Read More News

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