Donald Trump faces his biggest legal threat in Miami court: the case of the classified documents

Donald Trump faces his biggest legal threat

Donald Trump is due to appear in a Miami court on Tuesday to face dozens of charges of embezzlement of US government secrets, in the most serious case of a storm of criminal investigations that threaten to derail his bid to regain the presidency.

The former president is scheduled to travel by caravan for about 25 minutes from his golf course to the courthouse, where he is expected to deny 37 charges, including “illegal withholding of information related to national security,” “obstruction of justice.” and “false witness”.

The Republican leader is running for re-election, and his devoted supporters had already begun taking to the streets on the eve of the hearing, with Miami police prepared for protests of up to 50,000 people and prepared for the possibility of violence.

“There has never been anything like it. A witch hunt like this has never taken place,” Trump told a local conservative Hispanic radio station after arriving in Miami from his New Jersey summer home on Monday. “When you look at what they’ve done, and when you look at the criminal acts and the horrible acts that they’ve committed, and then they come after me.”

The tycoon, who turns 77 on Wednesday, is accused of knowingly hoarding dozens of clearly marked government secrets that he illegally took from his Florida beachfront mansion when he left office in 2021, refusing to return them and conspiring to obstruct investigators trying to recover them.

He is also accused of sharing sensitive US secrets with people who did not have security clearance, in a case far more serious than any he has faced before, with charges that can carry prison terms of decades.

Call for calm

The favorite in the 2024 Republican primaries has vowed to stay in the race regardless of the outcome of the case, sparking a campaign for the White House that, for the first time in US history, is facing a legal battle against an electoral one.

The 49-page indictment, called “ridiculous” by Trump, included photos showing boxes purportedly from the National Archives stacked at Mar-a-Lago, his Palm Beach residence, in a ballroom and bathroom. bath and shower.

Security was being tightened around the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. in Miami, with several protests planned, including by a local chapter of the far-right group Proud Boys.

“We hope it will be peaceful. We encourage people to be peaceful when it comes to expressing how they feel,” Miami Republican Mayor Francis Suárez told reporters on Monday.

Trump is expected to fly to his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, later to affirm his innocence in a speech to supporters.

The former Republican president’s legal troubles have only just begun, as he faces multiple felony charges in a financial fraud case in New York that goes to trial next March.

Jack Smith, the special counsel leading the investigation of the documents, is also investigating Trump’s involvement in the 2021 US Capitol riots, and state and federal investigators are scrutinizing his efforts to subvert the 2020 election.

Eye for an eye

Trump’s allies in Congress and his rivals for the presidential nomination have largely surrounded the wagons following his latest impeachment, condemning the government’s “arms-mongering” against conservatives.

Some Republican lawmakers have been criticized for rhetoric that could inspire violence, including Clay Higgins of Louisiana, who told supporters to “buckle up” and Andy Biggs of Arizona, who tweeted: “We have reached a phase of war. Eye for an eye”.

The Southern District of Florida is known as a “rocket docket” court, legal slang for places that push for speedy justice, and authorities have not ruled out completing a trial before the 2024 election.

Much of the focus in the preliminary proceedings will be on District Court Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee who was randomly assigned the case and who will have an enormous influence on how quickly the proceedings move forward. things.

Cannon issued a series of rulings favorable to Trump in the early phases of the case that stalled the investigation for weeks until a conservative appeals court ruled that he had acted beyond his authority.