Last March I cautioned that the Alvin Bragg case was a sideshow, and the Mar-a-Lago case was Trump’s biggest risk
The Independent newspaper in Britain has published a story asserting that Donald Trump will be indicted any day by a Florida grand jury, with regard to the possession and transmittal of national defense, information and obstruction of justice.
As described in the story, possession of classified documents will not be the basis for the indictment, rather it is the conduct with regard to those documents:
The use of Section 793, which does not make reference to classified information, is understood to be a strategic decision by prosecutors that has been made to short-circuit Mr Trump’s ability to claim that he used his authority as president to declassify documents he removed from the White House and kept at his Palm Beach, Florida property long after his term expired on 20 January 2021.
That section of US criminal law is written in a way that could encompass Mr Trump’s conduct even if he was authorised to possess the information as president because it states that anyone who “lawfully having possession of, access to, control over, or being entrusted with any document …relating to the national defence,” and “willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it on demand to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it” can be punished by as many as 10 years in prison.
If there is no charge based on possession of classified documents, that takes away a lot of the “what about Biden” defenses.
The article also says that former chief of staff Mark Meadows testified as part of a deal giving him limited immunity:
A source who was briefed on the agreement claimed that the alleged agreement will involve the ex-chief of staff entering pleas of guilty to unspecified federal crimes but an attorney for Mr Meadows, George Terwilliger, denied that to The Independent. Mr Terwilliger said that the idea that his client would enter any guilty pleas was “complete bulls***” but did not address the matter of immunity in a brief telephone conversation with this reporter.
It is not yet known whether the testimony or the charges in question relate to the documents probe, or a separate investigation into the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Both investigations are being overseen by a Department of Justice special prosecutor, Jack Smith. According to ABC News, Mr Meadows has given evidence in both the documents matter and the January 6 investigation.
We don’t know the legitimacy of the story, but it is consistent with other reports that a federal grand jury was considering charges in Florida, which was the location of the alleged conduct.
Last March I wrote why this case is riskier for Trump. It’s about whether he directed his lawyers to lie to the feds, obstructing justice. If proven, that’s a simple legal theory of criminal liability, unlike all the attenuated and legally-stretched theories in the other cases.
Again, no one will be surprised if he is indicted with regard to Mar-a-Lago, the question is what the specific factual allegations in the indictment will be, whether there is anything new, and what the charges are. It will be interesting to see if there is a rally around effect like there was with the Bragg indictment. A lot of that will depend on what is in the indictment.
Until I see receipts, it’s all fake news to me.
This one I find particularly hard to believe, that Meadows has an immunity deal and is turning on Trump.
Nah, don’t buy it.
I wonder if all these stories are using the same source: Parlatore, the lawyer who recently left… https://t.co/17sR7ao966
— Just Human (@realjusthuman) June 7, 2023
A source who was briefed on the agreement claimed that the alleged agreement will involve the ex-chief of staff entering pleas of guilty to unspecified federal crimes but an attorney for Mr. Meadows, George Terwilliger, denied that to The Independent. Mr Terwilliger said that the… https://t.co/g3U9xkgjx8
— Henry Rodgers (@henryrodgersdc) June 7, 2023
It appears that the Independent has updated its story with comment from Meadows’s attorney, who says the idea that Meadows would plead guilty to federal charges is “complete bullshit.”
And note that no mainstream US media has matched the story.
So, take with grain of salt. https://t.co/jweV0XorIo
— Anna Bower (@AnnaBower) June 7, 2023
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