Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago conduct 'checks the boxes' for indictment on three criminal statutes

Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago conduct 'checks the boxes' for indictment on three criminal statutes
Image via Gage Skidmore.
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According to longtime attorney Philip Rotner, newly appointed special counsel Jack Smith is taking over a Department of Justice investigation of Donald Trump that has already made a strong case to indict the former president using three criminal statutes.

In a column for the conservative Bulwark, the legal expert claimed Smith could bring a criminal indictment immediately if he were so inclined but that there are other charges he could likely add as he digs deeper into Trump's taking government documents to his Mar-a-Lago estate and then obstructing government officials from reclaiming them.

Providing a month-by-month, blow-by-blow timeline about the governments battle with the former president and his lawyers to secure the documents that should have gone to the National Archives, Rotner claimed the DOJ has since made their case in their search warrant back in May that preceded the FBI's search of the Florida resort.

"Is there at this point really any room for doubt that there are solid legal grounds to indict Donald Trump with respect to the stolen documents?" Rotner asked before citing the three relevant statutes as follows:

  • 18 U.S.C. 793(e) makes it a crime punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment of up to ten years to have unauthorized possession of any document relating to the national defense or to willfully retain such a document and fail to deliver it to the officer of the United States who is entitled to receive it.
  • 18 U.S.C. 1519 subjects any person who knowingly conceals a document with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence an investigation to a fine and/or imprisonment of up to twenty years.
  • 18 U.S.C. 2071 provides that any person who willfully and unlawfully conceals any document deposited in any public office shall be fined and/or imprisoned for up to three years. It also provides that any person who commits those acts shall “be disqualified from holding any office under the United States.”

According to the attorney, "Trump’s conduct appears to check every one of those boxes."

As he notes, special counsel Smith has given every indication that he is "fully on top of the case."

"His seeking to hold Trump in contempt is a good sign, and his reported issuance of subpoenas to local officials in other Trump-related investigations sends a strong signal that he’s deadly serious and not wasting any time." Rotner wrote before explaining, "Smith is now free to use everything seized at Trump’s resort, classified or not, in his criminal investigation. So, at long last, it is time to indict Donald Trump."

"If it were you, you’d already be in jail," he added.

You can read more here.

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