Trump indicted on 37 charges, including violations of Espionage Act, in classified documents probe

Tribune Content Agency

WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump was indicted on 37 charges, including 31 counts of violations of the Espionage Act, as part of special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into the mishandling of classified documents from the Trump White House

The 49-page indictment, released Friday by the Department of Justice, details that Trump stored boxes containing classified documents in various Mar-a-Lago locations, including a ballroom, a bathroom and shower, his office, his bedroom and a storage room.

According to the indictment, among the classified and top secret records were details on foreign nations’ nuclear capabilities, as well as information regarding defense and weapons capabilities of both U.S. and foreign countries; U.S. nuclear programs; potential vulnerabilities of U.S. and allies to military attack; and plans for possible retaliation in response to an attack.

Trump’s personal aide Walt Nauta was also indicted as a co-conspirator.

“He has done a fantastic job! They are trying to destroy his life, like the lives of so many others, hoping that he will say bad things about ‘Trump,’” the former president said of Nauta in a Truth Social post.

The specific charges against Nauta, a Navy veteran who was frequently by Trump’s side in the White House, have not been revealed. The special counsel’s investigation has focused in part on Nauta, who is reportedly seen on surveillance video helping a maintenance worker move boxes from a storage room before the FBI executed a search warrant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.

Trump announced in a social media post Thursday that he had been indicted in connection with his handling of classified records and was ordered to appear in federal court in Miami on Tuesday afternoon. The indictment comes nearly a year after more than 100 documents with classified markings were found during an FBI search of Mar-a-Lago in August 2022.

The special counsel is scheduled to make a public statement later Friday. The case appears to have been initially directed toward U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee who handled his lawsuit last year over the FBI search.

Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and claimed again late Thursday that he was innocent. On Friday he announced that he is shaking up his legal team, replacing attorneys Jim Trusty and John Rowley with New York-based Todd Blanche and a firm to be named later. Blanche is assisting with Trump’s other indictment on 34 felony charges related to an alleged hush-money payment made to porn actor Stormy Daniels in the final days of the 2016 campaign.

Trusty and Rowley said in a joint statement that they resigned, calling it “a logical moment” to leave because the case had moved to Miami.

Trump and his allies quickly framed the new indictment as an attempt to diminish a political opponent, with some such as Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., misrepresenting the legal process.

“If the people in power can jail their political opponents at will, we don’t have a republic,” Hawley, a lawyer and former state attorney general, tweeted.

Such claims disregard that it was a grand jury that recommended the charges based on evidence presented to it, and it will be a jury that decides Trump’s guilt or innocence on the charges based on the evidence provided in open court.