FT: Donald Trump charged with 37 counts in classified documents case

    WORLD  10 June 2023 - 15:23

    Two top lawyers defending Donald Trump against allegations he mishandled classified government documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate abruptly dropped out of the case a day after being notified of a pending indictment against their client.
     
    The departure of Jim Trusty and John Rowley comes only days before the former president is due to face criminal charges in a Miami federal court, throwing his defence into uncertainty just as several new rivals are challenging him for the Republican presidential nomination, Financial Times reports.
     
    Trump is expected to appear in court on Tuesday, after revealing that special counsel Jack Smith of the US Department of Justice had charged him in a case involving his treatment of classified documents that federal agents seized at Mar-a-Lago in Florida last year.
     
    Although Trump remains the frontrunner for his party’s nod in 2024, the new charges will be his second criminal indictment in as many months, and a third is expected from local prosecutors in Georgia this summer. A growing number of Republicans believe the weight of legal challenges could make Trump vulnerable to the expanding field of presidential challengers.
     
    Republicans on Capitol Hill have jumped to his defence, however, and Trump is counting on primary voters to balk at the charges as evidence of a politically motivated persecution promoted by Democrats and the Biden administration. Senior Republicans including Kevin McCarthy, the US House Speaker, and Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor and Trump’s main 2024 rival, have already attacked the justice department for the indictment.
     
    But the weight of the charges and a possible trial could still risk eroding support for him both among Republicans and voters in an eventual general election.
     
    The turmoil in Trump’s legal team points to a rocky path ahead for the former president as he tries to fight the allegations. Explaining their departure, Trump said Trusty and Rowley “were up against a very dishonest, corrupt, evil, and ‘sick’ group of people, the likes of which has not been seen before”. He added that they would be replaced by Todd Blanche, who is already part of his legal team, and a “firm to be named later”.
     
    In a statement released on Friday, Trusty and Rowley said that they tendered their resignations to Trump. “It has been an honour to have spent the last year defending him, and we know he will be vindicated,” they said.
     
    Trusty on Thursday evening told CNN a legal summons requested that Trump appear in a federal court in Miami, Florida, on Tuesday and implied there were about seven specific charges against the former president. These included obstruction of justice, making a false statement and violations of the Espionage Act, all serious federal crimes. Trusty said the accusations were “ludicrous”. 
     
    The justice department has declined to comment.
     
    A former US president has never before faced federal criminal charges. It comes after federal agents searched Mar-a-Lago in August, before which Trump had already handed more than 15 boxes of classified documents, including some that were marked “top secret”, to the government after months of haggling. 

    Caliber.Az

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