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Trump indictment unsealed in documents case I Live updates

Former President Donald Trump listens as he speaks with reporters while in flight on his plane after a campaign rally at Waco Regional Airport, in Waco, Texas, March 25, 2023, while en route to West Palm Beach, Fla.

MIAMI — Follow along for live updates on former President Donald Trump, who has been indicted on charges of mishandling classified documents at his Florida estate. The indictment marks the first time in U.S. history that a former president faces criminal charges by the federal government he once oversaw. Trump faces the possibility of prison if convicted.

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TRUMP KEPT CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS IN BATHROOM, SHOWER OF CLUB, INDICTMENT SAYS

The indictment alleges Trump kept classified documents in the bathroom and shower at his Florida estate, as well as various other locations that included a ballroom, storeroom, office and bedroom.

Prosecutors noted that “tens of thousands of members and guests” visited the “active social club” of Mar-a-Lago between the end of Trump’s presidency in January 2021 through the August 2022 search. They argued that “nonetheless” Trump stored documents “in a ballroom, a bathroom and shower, and office space, his bedroom, and a storage room.”

The indictment claims that, for a two-month period, some of Trump’s boxes were stored in one of Mar-a-Lago’s gilded ballroom. A picture included in the indictment shows boxes stacked in rows on the ballroom’s stage.

The indictment also shows photographs of boxes that spilled over in the storage room, including a document marked SECRET/REL TO USA, FVEY” which means information releasable only to members of the intelligence alliance of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. In the photo the classified document is redacted.

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LAWYER SAID TRUMP SUGGESTED HE REMOVE DAMAGING DOCUMENTS

The indictment unsealed Friday also says that, unaware of any records being moved, Trump’s attorney on June 2, 2022, identified 38 documents with “classified” markings and placed them in a folder, which he sealed with clear duct tape handed to him by Trump valet Walt Nauta. The valet then took the attorney to see the former president.

“Did you find anything? Is it bad? … Is it good?” Trump asked his lawyer.

The attorney told federal authorities that he discussed the folder of classified material with Trump and how the material should be handled. The attorney told authorities that as they discussed the attorney taking the materials with him, Trump gestured in a way that suggested he wanted the attorney to identify “anything really bad” and “you know, pluck it out.” The lawyer clarified that Trump did not articulate such instructions beyond making that “plucking motion.”

The attorney told authorities that he did not take anything out of the folder and that he instead immediately contacted the FBI and another Trump attorney. On June 3, according to the indictment, the second Trump attorney acted as the official custodian of records on Trump’s behalf and turned the material to the FBI.

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INDICTMENT ALLEGES VALET MOVED BOXES AT TRUMP’S DIRECTION

The indictment alleges that Nauta acted “at Trump’s direction” to move move “approximately 64 boxes” of documents from the Mar-a-Lago storage room to the former president’s residence. Nauta’s actions occurred between May 23, 2022, and June 2, 2022, according to the indictment.

That total includes “approximately 30 boxes” Nauta allegedly moved on June 2, the same day Trump’s legal team was expected to examine the cache. Nauta’s actions that day came hours after he talked briefly via phone with Trump, prosecutors allege. Neither Trump nor Nauta, according to the indictment, disclosed to the former president’s attorneys that Nauta had moved any of the storage room contents.

According to prosecutors’ timeline, Trump met later that day with one of his attorneys and Nauta escorted the attorney to the storage room for his review of the documents.

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INDICTMENT ALLEGES TRUMP SHOWED DOCUMENTS TO OTHERS

The indictment unsealed Friday outlined two circumstances in which Trump allegedly showed the documents to others.

One occurred in a meeting with a writer at his Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he described federal officials’ “plan of attack” against him and purportedly acknowledging that he knew the information “is still a secret.”

In a later meeting with a representative from his political action committee, Trump displayed “a classified map related to a military operation,” acknowledging he “should not be showing it to the representative and that the representative should not get too close,” prosecutors said.

In the next paragraph, prosecutors note how Trump, at a press conference while president in 2017, addressed media leaks and said that leaking classified information is “an illegal process” and that people involved “should be ashamed of themselves.”

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TRUMP FACES 37 FELONY CHARGES

Trump is facing 37 felony charges related to the mishandling of classified documents.

An indictment unsealed Friday also alleges that he described a Pentagon “plan of attack” and shared a classified map related to a military operation.

The document marks the Justice Department’s first official confirmation of a criminal case against Trump arising from the retention of hundreds of documents at his Florida home, Mar-a-Lago.

Charged alongside with Trump was Walt Nauta, a Trump aide who was seen on surveillance camera removing boxes at Mar-a-Lago.

The indictment accuses Trump of having improperly removed scores of boxes from the White House to take them to Mar-a-Lago, many of them containing classified information.

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INDICTMENT ALLEGES TRUMP SHARED PENTAGON ‘PLAN OF ATTACK,’ SHARED CLASSIFIED MAP

Trump described a Pentagon “plan of attack” and shared classified map related to a military operation, according to an indictment unsealed Friday.

The document marks the Justice Department’s first official confirmation of a criminal case against Trump arising from the retention of hundreds of documents at his Florida home, Mar-a-Lago.

Trump disclosed the existence of the indictment in a Truth Social post Thursday night as well as in a video he recorded.

The indictment accuses Trump of having improperly removed scores of boxes from the White House to take them to Mar-a-Lago, many of them containing classified information.

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INDICTMENT AGAINST TRUMP MADE PUBLIC

An indictment charging former President Donald Trump with mishandling classified documents has been unsealed.

The document released Friday marks the Justice Department’s first official confirmation of a criminal case against Trump arising from the retention of hundreds of documents at his Florida home, Mar-a-Lago.

Trump disclosed the existence of the indictment in a Truth Social post Thursday night as well as in a video he recorded.

People familiar with the matter have told The Associated Press that the indictment includes seven separate charges.

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BIDEN CHALLENGER WILLIAMSON DECRIES SUGGESTIONS WHITE HOUSE MAY BE BEHIND CASE

While the White House has been careful not to comment on Trump’s indictment, one of President Joe Biden’s Democratic primary rivals, Marianne Williamson, is speaking up to refute suggestions that the case is politically motivated.

The author and self-help guru called the case a “sobering development” and noted that Trump is innocent until proven guilty, but also not above the law.

She added that Jack Smith, who has been appointed special counsel in the case, is “independent and is not working at the behest of the Biden administration.”

“Such charges are false and those who are making them know that,” Williamson said in a statement, adding that “the goal of the system is to be an impartial witness to the facts.”

Many top Republicans have suggested the case against Trump is politically motivated. Trump himself has denounced what he calls the “weaponization of the Department of Justice” and also released a statement saying Smith has a history of being involved in “seriously flawed cases.”

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TRUMP CHOOSES LAWYER FROM NEW YORK CRIMINAL CASE TO REPRESENT HIM

Trump says he has picked a lawyer from his New York criminal case to represent him in his newly indicted federal classified documents case.

Trump posted Friday on his Truth Social platform that Todd Blanche will lead his defense in the federal case, along with “a firm to be named later,” replacing his previous lawyers, Jim Trusty and John Rowley.

Blanche, a respected white-collar defense lawyer, joined Trump’s legal team just before his New York indictment in March. Before that, he was a partner at the firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP. He’s also been a federal prosecutor in New York.

Blanche sat by Trump’s side at his Mar-a-Lago estate during a recent video hearing in the New York case and is spearheading efforts to get that matter moved from state court to federal court.

Blanche previously represented former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in getting state mortgage fraud charges thrown out on double jeopardy grounds, arguing the New York case was too similar to one that landed Manafort in federal prison.

Blanche also has represented Igor Fruman, an associate of Trump’s former personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who pleaded guilty in 2021 in a campaign finance case.

Michael Sisak

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GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES PENCE, HALEY CRITICIZE INDICTMENT

Campaigning as a presidential candidate in New Hampshire, former Vice President Mike Pence said he was “deeply troubled” to see Trump’s indictment because he believes it will further divide the nation.

“It’s important for all of us to remember that no one knows the facts in this case, and as Americans, it’s essential to remember that you’re innocent until proven guilty,” Pence said Friday.

He called on the attorney general to make the indictment public: “You need to stand up and explain to us why this was necessary before the sun sets today.”

Nikki Haley, one of Pence’s rivals for the GOP presidential nomination, said in a statement that Americans are exhausted by “prosecutorial overreach.”

“This is not how justice should be pursued in our country,” said Haley, former ambassador to the United Nations and South Carolina governor. “It’s time to move beyond the endless drama and distractions.”

Holly Ramer and Meg Kinnard

Associated Press

Associated Press

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