The judicial noose is tightening on Donald Trump. The former US president finds himself in court on Tuesday, June 13, indicted for his negligent management of state secrets after his presidency.
The 76-year-old billionaire, again a candidate for the White House, is summoned before a judge in Miami at 15:00 (19:00 GMT) to be notified of the charges against him.
He is accused of keeping confidential documents after leaving the White House, which included confidential information on nuclear weapons.
The former president faces 37 charges, including "unlawful withholding of national security information," "obstruction of justice" and "perjury."
A case that threatens his candidacy
This is the first time a former US president has been indicted at the federal level. In early April, Donald Trump had already been indicted for several accounting frauds by the justice of the State of New York, in connection with a payment made before the presidential election of 2016 to silence an actress of X movies who says to have been his mistress. But this issue in Miami seems more compromising.
In the United States, a law requires presidents to forward all emails, letters and other working documents to the National Archives. Another, on espionage, prohibits keeping state secrets in unauthorized and unsecured locations.
See also Classified documents: why was Donald Trump indicted and not Mike Pence or Joe Biden?
In January 2021, when he left the White House to settle in his luxurious Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, Donald Trump had taken dozens of boxes filled with files.
According to the indictment, they had remained piled on the stage of a "ballroom", before being transported to an accessible "storage room" of the pool, where some documents marked "secret defense" had been seen spread out on the floor. In January 2022, after several reminders, he had agreed to return boxes containing nearly 200 classified documents.
Still convinced that it lacked, FBI agents had carried out a spectacular search at Mar-a-Lago on August 8 and had seized about thirty other boxes, containing 11,000 documents.
The real estate mogul has always described this case as a "witch hunt" aimed at hindering his presidential candidacy. He accused President Joe Biden, whom he could face in 2024, of interference "and his gang of thugs." According to one of his lawyers, Donald Trump should plead not guilty.
This hearing, with explosive political potential, raises security fears on the part of the Miami authorities, after calls on social networks to defend Donald Trump.
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"We take this event very seriously," Florida police chief Manuel Morales said at a news conference Monday.
As after his appearance in New York in April, Donald Trump gave an appointment to his faithful in New Jersey the same evening, for a speech scheduled for 20:15 (00:15 GMT Wednesday).
During his last indictment, which had been the subject of dizzying media attention, the former occupant of the White House had boasted of having raised millions of dollars from his supporters.
Many of them, convinced that he is the victim of a plot, continue to swear their support.
Targeted by several other investigations, Donald Trump is probably not finished with legal problems. A Georgia prosecutor is expected to announce by September the outcome of her investigation into the pressure he exerted to try to change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
The criminal trial of the former president in New York should be organized in early 2024, in the middle of the Republican primaries, of which he is currently the favorite.
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