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The Classified Documents Case

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida


Federal prosecutors, led by special counsel Jack Smith, have accused Trump of taking highly sensitive national security documents when he left the White House in January 2021. He stashed those documents haphazardly throughout his Mar-a-Lago resort and obstructed the government’s repeated attempts to retrieve them, prosecutors allege. On at least two occasions, Trump showed classified documents to individuals who were not authorized to view them, prosecutors say. During one of those episodes — which was audio-recorded — Trump allegedly displayed a top-secret military plan of attack while telling visitors, “As president I could have declassified it” but “now I can’t,” adding that the document he was showing them was “still a secret.”

Status


In early 2022, the Justice Department opened an investigation into Trump’s retention of classified documents after his presidency. In June 2022, a Trump lawyer avowed that Trump had turned over all classified records, but two months later, the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago and seized 102 documents with classified markings. Smith was appointed in November 2022 to lead the investigation, and for months, a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., reviewed evidence and heard testimony — including testimony from some of Trump’s own lawyers.

Smith’s team then sought an indictment from a grand jury in Florida. On June 9, 2023, that indictment was unsealed, charging Trump with 37 felonies and his longtime aide, Walt Nauta, with six felonies. Trump pleaded not guilty.

On July 27, 2023, Smith’s team unveiled a revised indictment, known as a “superseding” indictment, adding three new felony charges against Trump and two new felony charges against Nauta. The superseding indictment also added a third defendant: Carlos De Oliveira, a Mar-a-Lago employee who was charged with four felonies. The superseding indictment included new allegations that Trump, Nauta and De Oliveira sought to destroy security camera footage at Mar-a-Lago after investigators tried to obtain the footage.

A trial is scheduled for May 20, 2024, in Fort Pierce, Florida, but Judge Aileen Cannon is widely expected to postpone it.

Charges


The Espionage Act makes it a crime to retain records containing sensitive national security information. The first 32 counts against Trump arise from 32 specific documents that he allegedly hoarded at Mar-a-Lago and refused to give back, even though he was no longer entitled to possess them after his presidency. Of the 32 documents, 31 were marked classified, and many concerned foreign military capabilities, military activities or nuclear weapons, according to the indictment. The remaining eight felony counts arise from Trump’s alleged efforts to stymie the investigation, including directing Nauta to move boxes in the hope that neither Trump’s own lawyer nor the FBI would discover some of the classified documents.


  • Many legal experts, including conservatives, have described Smith’s indictment as laying out an exceptionally persuasive case. It contains evidence from Trump’s own statements — including one caught on tape — that he knew he was not authorized to retain classified material but did so anyway. Evidence of obstruction — including instructing his aides to move boxes around or destroy security footage, and apparently suggesting to his lawyer that he conceal documents from the FBI — is similarly compelling.


  • Trump seems to have publicly admitted that he knowingly held onto the documents after he left the White House. During a CNN town hall in May 2023, Trump said he “took the documents” because he was “allowed to.”


  • The Presidential Records Act makes clear that presidential documents are property of the federal government, not an outgoing president. And multiple federal laws tightly control how classified documents can be viewed and stored. Smith has pointed to a 2009 executive order as pivotal, saying Trump would have required a written waiver of the order’s “need-to-know requirement” for access to classified information after his term in office.


  • ​​While he was president, Trump had broad authority to declassify documents. If Trump could show that he declassified the records at issue before he left the White House, he may be able to undermine the charges. To date, however, there is no evidence that Trump did so.


  • In a series of motions to dismiss, Trump’s lawyers challenged the charges on a variety of fronts. They argued, for instance, that because many of the documents were transported to Mar-a-Lago before Trump’s term ended in January 2021, he implicitly designated them as “personal records,” beyond the scope of the Presidential Records Act. They also alleged that the prosecution was politically motivated and that Smith’s appointment as special counsel was unconstitutional.


  • The prosecution may have received an unlucky break when the case was assigned to Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee who has a history of issuing rulings that are highly favorable to Trump. She has broad authority over both the pace of the proceedings and a slew of pretrial litigation on the admissibility of evidence and other issues.

Prosecution
Jack Smith

Special counsel

Trump’s legal team
Todd Blanche
Christopher Kise
Key players
Evan Corcoran

Trump lawyer


Corcoran took detailed notes about his interactions with Trump during the documents probe. A judge ordered Corcoran to turn over the notes to prosecutors under the so-called crime-fraud exception to attorney-client privilege. The notes became crucial evidence to support the indictment.

Walt Nauta

Trump aide and co-defendant


Nauta is Trump’s longtime “body man.” Prosecutors say he became Trump’s co-conspirator in efforts to hide the classified documents.

Carlos De Oliveira

Mar-a-Lago property manager and co-defendant


Prosecutors say De Oliveira tried to delete security camera footage after investigators sought the footage from Mar-a-Lago. Prosecutors say he told another Mar-a-Lago employee that “the boss” wanted the video server deleted.



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Philadelphia shooting at big block party leaves 3 dead, 7 injured

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A mass shooting of 10 people in West Philadelphia early Sunday morning has resulted in three deaths, according to local reports.

The shooting, possibly at a block party with more than 100 people, happened in the 1200 block of North Alden Street, FOX 29’s Steve Keeley posted to X. 

Some of the shooting victims were taken by police to the hospital, while others were driven away by neighbors.

Images from the scene show the shooting happened on a residential street.

PHILADELPHIA DEM DA SLAMMED OVER SUSPECTED OFFICER KILLER’S PUNISHMENT

Investigators at Philly mass shooting on residential street

A mass shooting of 10 people was reported in the 1200 block of North Alden Street in west Philadelphia. (WTXF)

The people killed were in their 20s and 30s, according to FOX 29. Their identities have not been released. 

Conditions of the at least seven injured range from stable to serious, but their ages and identities are not yet known. 

SUSPECT CHARGED IN SHOOTING OF PHILADELPHIA POLICE OFFICER WHO REMAINS ‘ON LIFE SUPPORT’

Philly PD Crime Scene Unit

Crime scene unit investigators with Philadelphia Police Department at the scene of a mass shooting early Sunday, July 21, 2024.  (WTXF)

Several shell casings and one weapon were found at the scene, FOX 29 reports. 

Whoever is responsible for the shooting is still on the loose. It is possible there is more than one gunman, police told FOX 29. 

Philly PD at mass shooting scene

Philadelphia police on the scene of a mass shooting in the 200 block of North Alden Street in West Philadelphia.  (WTXF)

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Fox News Digital is waiting to hear back from the police with more information. 

This is a developing story. Check back here for updates.



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Eluned Morgan considering running as Vaughan Gething;s successor

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Health Secretary Eluned Morgan is “giving serious consideration” to standing to replace Vaughan Gething as Wales’ first minister.

Welsh Labour has confirmed it will elect Mr Gething’s successor by mid September after the first minister quit on Tuesday when three ministers and his chief legal adviser all resigned following months of interparty disputes.

Ms Morgan said she was looking at “unity ticket” with fellow Senedd cabinet member Huw Irranca-Davies running as her deputy.

She told BBC Politics Wales she had “a considerable amount of support” across Labour but would not be drawn on whether she has the required six nominations to get on the ballot paper.

The party’s politicians in the Senedd have until noon on Wednesday to decide who they are backing in the leadership contest.

One of the ministers who quit on Tuesday – former Economy Secretary Jeremy Miles – is expected to run.

BBC Wales was told he already had the support of enough of his colleagues to secure his place on the ballot paper.

Supporters of Mr Gething claimed Mr Miles – whom he narrowly defeated in the last leadership race – would not be able to unite the Labour party in the Senedd .

Ms Morgan said she hoped to confirm her bid in “the next few hours or days”.

She said she had “considerable amount of support… from the different sections of the Labour party,” adding “you don’t need to belong to any particular faction” to support her.

“If I were to stand, then I would be standing on a ticket along with Huw Irranca-Davies, who was a Jeremy Miles supporter, so it would be a unity ticket.

“This is something that we are testing. There’s been a huge groundswell of support within the party for that idea.

“People want to look to the future. They want to look to the next election and they want us to refocus of delivering for the people of Wales.”



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Monterey Park teen missing after taking her bike to visit a relative

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Police are searching for a 15-year-old Monterey Park girl who disappeared Tuesday after leaving home on her bicycle.

Alison Jillian Chao left her residence in the 200 block of North Ynez Avenue in Monterey Park around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to visit a relative’s house in the nearby city of San Gabriel, but never arrived, according to the Monterey Park Police Department. A search was initiated within hours, police said.

Signs affixed to street lights and utility poles in her neighborhood and in nearby Alhambra say Alison was wearing a blue T-shirt and black shorts and carrying a black backpack when she departed on a blue mountain bike. The posters include an image of Alison peddling away from home with her hair in a ponytail.

Police described the teen as Asian with black hair and brown eyes. She is about 5 feet 2 and weighs around 96 pounds.

According to a website dedicated to finding her, the last confirmed sighting of Alison was on Main Street in Alhambra soon after she left home Tuesday.

“The more time that goes on, the scarier it gets,” the teen’s mother, Annie Chao, told KTLA on Friday. “I haven’t slept in days, and it’s just every parent’s worst nightmare.”

Those with information should call the Monterey Park Police Department at 626-573-1311.

Times staff writer Karen Kaplan contributed to this report.





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