Federal prosecutors unsealed the 49-page indictment detailing the charges and laying out the government’s case against former President Donald J. Trump on Friday. They allege that he mishandled classified documents after leaving office and obstructed the government’s efforts to reclaim them.
Jack Smith, the special counsel who is bringing the case, will make a brief statement to the press on Friday at his office in Northeast Washington at 3 p.m., his spokesman said.
The 49-page indictment gave the clearest picture yet of the files that Mr. Trump took with him when he left the White House. It said he had illegally kept documents concerning “United States nuclear programs; potential vulnerabilities of the United States and its allies to military attack; and plans for possible retaliation in response to a foreign attack.”
The indictment reaches back to the end of Mr. Trump’s term in January 2021, when the documents — many of which were said to be in the White House residence — were packed in boxes along with clothes, gifts, photographs and other material, and shipped by the General Services Administration to his private club and residence in Florida, Mar-a-Lago.
Just two hours after the indictments were made public, two lawyers, James Trusty and John Rowley, have left Mr. Trump’s legal team, and will no longer represent him in the documents case. “I will be represented by Todd Blanche, Esq., and a firm to be named later,” Mr. Trump wrote on Truth Social.
A recording of a meeting involving Mr. Trump in July 2021, six months after leaving the White House, is expected to be a key piece of evidence against him. During that meeting, he described a document in front of him as “classified” and “highly confidential,” according to a person briefed on the matter.
The indictment of Mr. Trump, filed by the office of the special counsel, Jack Smith, came about two months after local prosecutors in New York filed more than 30 felony charges against Mr. Trump — just one of several investigations of the former president. Read more about them.
Donald Trump is expected to appear in Federal District Court in Miami on Tuesday afternoon to face charges including willfully retaining national defense secrets in violation of the Espionage Act, making false statements and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Prosecutors also charged Waltine Nauta, a former presidential aide who continued to work for Mr. Trump after he left office.
Mr. Trump’s first appearance will be before Judge Aileen M. Cannon, according to five people familiar with the matter. Judge Cannon was appointed by Mr. Trump in 2020 and was criticized by a higher court for handing him a series of unusually favorable rulings during the early stages of the investigation. It was not clear whether Judge Cannon would remain assigned for the entirety of the case.
The indictment, handed up by a grand jury in the Federal District Court in Miami, is the first time a former president has faced federal charges. It puts the nation in an extraordinary position, given Mr. Trump’s status not only as a onetime commander in chief but also as the current front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination to face President Biden, whose administration will now be seeking to convict his potential rival of multiple felonies.
Donald Trump continued to rail against the indictment on Friday, calling it the “Greatest Witch Hunt of all time,” in a Truth Social post.