Former US president Donald Trump potentially facing Espionage Act violation case

The US federal agents seized 11 sets of classified documents from his residence Mar-a-Lago; the documents are part of a potentially criminal violation of the Espionage Act and a few other laws.

IANSUpdated: Saturday, August 13, 2022, 09:09 AM IST
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Former US president Donald Trump potentially facing Espionage Act violation case | AFP

US federal agents took away 11 sets of classified documents from the Florida residence of former President Donald Trump during an unprecedented search earlier this week, according to legal papers related to the search and the ongoing investigation unsealed by a court on Friday.

These documents are part of a potentially criminal violation of the Espionage Act and a few other laws.

They included four sets of top secret documents, three sets of secret documents and three sets of confidential documents, according to an inventory of items seized by FBI agents.

Some of these documents were marked "classified/TS/SCI" documents "shorthand" for "top secret/sensitive compartmented information".

Among them was also a document about France's President Emmanuel Macron.

The documents, which were listed in a "Receipt of Property" handed over to Trump's lawyers by the FBI, did not give details contained in them.

One set was titled, "Various classified/TS/SCI documents". Another went with "Miscellanous (Miscellaneous spelt wrong) Top Secret Documents". And the one on Macron simply said, "Info re: President of France."

The warrant sanctioning the FBI search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence on Monday specified three potential violations of federal law, which could together end in a punishment of years in jail and fine if the accused is found guilty.

They are federal laws 18 USC 2071 (Concealment, removal or mutilation), 18 USC 793 (Gathering, transmitting or losing defence information), and 18 USC 1519 (Destruction, alteration or falsification of records in Federal investigations). The second law, 18 USC 793, is part of the Espionage Act, but it does not pertain specifically to the act of spying.

Trump could potentially be under investigation for criminal violation of the Espionage Act.

The former President is embroiled in a slew of legal cases, both criminal and civil. He was in New York City to testify in one of them on Monday when the FBI visited his property in Florida. This is a civil case against Trump Organization, the family business run by his sons after he was elected President.

Trump is facing potentially criminal charges in Georgia state stemming from his efforts to overturn the outcome of the 2020 presidential election in his favour.

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