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Trump heads to Miami ahead of arraignment in documents case

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(The Center Square) – Former President Donald Trump headed to Miami on Monday ahead of his Tuesday arraignment on felony charges that he kept sensitive military documents, shared them with people who didn’t have security clearance and tried to evade the government’s efforts to get them back.

Trump faces 37 counts related to the documents as he prepares for a legal battle against the federal government he led for four years.

The 49-page indictment lays out the charges against Trump and his valet and alleged co-conspirator Walt Nauta. Trump was charged with keeping classified documents after leaving office and later obstructing the government’s efforts to retrieve them.

The indictment is remarkable, in part, for the amount of detail it contains, said David Parker, associate professor at Saint Xavier University’s Graham School of Management in Chicago.

“They took time to really present something to the American public,” Parker said.

The indictment contains specific dates and times with to-the-minute details of where the documents were stored, where they were moved and who was involved.

Parker said prosecutors would have to prove Trump’s intent at trial.

Among the records were 197 that contained classified markings, including 98 marked “secret” and 30 marked “top secret.” The “top secret” designation means that unauthorized disclosure “reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage” to national security,” according to the indictment.

Prosecutors allege the documents belong to some of the nation’s most secret agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, the National Security Agency, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office, the Department of Energy and the Department of State.

The documents contained information regarding defense and weapons capabilities of the United States and other allied nations, U.S. nuclear programs, plans for possible retaliation in case of an attack, and potential U.S. vulnerabilities, according to the indictment.

Trump stored the boxes in several locations at Mar-a-Lago, his social club with 25 guest rooms in Palm Beach. The boxes that contained classified documents were stored in a ballroom, a bathroom and shower, an office space, his bedroom and a storage room, prosecutors alleged in the indictment.

Parker said it’s unlikely either side will back down ahead of a trial.

“I don’t see either party giving way,” he said.

The former president has called the prosecution a witch hunt designed to interfere with the 2024 presidential election. Trump is leading early polls for the Republican nomination.

Trump posted on his social media network Monday that he plans to investigate presumptive Democratic rival President Joe Biden.

“I WILL APPOINT A REAL SPECIAL ‘PROSECUTOR’ TO GO AFTER THE MOST CORRUPT PRESIDENT IN THE HISTORY OF THE USA, JOE BIDEN, THE ENTIRE BIDEN CRIME FAMILY, & ALL OTHERS INVOLVED WITH THE DESTRUCTION OF OUR ELECTIONS, BORDERS, & COUNTRY ITSELF!,” Trump wrote on Truth Social.

Biden has declined to comment on the case.

Parker said he expected Tuesday’s arraignment to be largely procedural with no new revelations about the charges.

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