Trump lawyer claims docs were 'de-classified' or 'personal mementos'
Former President Donald Trump is scheduled to appear in federal court in Miami on Tuesday to answer 37 accusations, including violating the Espionage Act.
Donald Trump's lawyer hinted Sunday at the indicted ex-president's defense strategy in the case of the classified document, stating that the files were "de-classified" or "personal mementos" from his time in office, slamming the accusations as "politically motivated".
Trump is scheduled to appear in federal court in Miami on Tuesday to answer 37 accusations, including violating the Espionage Act, making false statements, and conspiring to handle secret information improperly. This is the latest legal trouble for the Republican ex-President.
One of his lawyers, Alina Habba, contended that Trump had done "nothing wrong" and would not take a plea deal to minimize the fallout from the case as he seeks his party's nomination for the 2024 election.
"He would never admit guilt, because there was nothing wrong with declassifying documents," Habba told the talk show Fox News Sunday.
"This is completely politically motivated. It's election interference at its best," Habba added.
Habba also pictured Trump's opposition to federal agents rifling through his boxes during a search at his Mar-a-Lago home as frustration over officials going through his personal belongings.
"He has every right to have classified documents that he declassified... things that are mementos, things that he has a right to take," she said.
"So if I'm someone with documents that I have a right to have as the president who left the White House, do I want people rummaging through my personal items? No," she added.
However, Bill Barr, the US attorney general during the final year of Trump's administration, stated that his former employer confronts "solid counts" brought by the Department of Justice and that, contrary to what the former President has often claimed, Trump is not the target of a "witch hunt".
"The idea that the president has complete authority to declare any document personal is... ridiculous," Barr told Fox.
If even half the indictment is true, "then he's toast," Barr added. "It's very, very damning."
Each of the accusations, made by Department of Justice Special Counsel Jack Smith, carries a potential 20-year sentence.
The Justice Department listed various pieces of evidence in its indictment, including an audio recording from a July 2021 meeting that Trump had with an author, a publisher, and two of his employees—none of whom had US security clearances—during which Trump showed them what he called a "secret" and "highly confidential" document.
"This is secret information... See as president I could have declassified it," Trump said on the recording, according to the indictment. "Now I can't, you know, but this is still a secret."
Earlier, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence rushed to defend Trump. This demonstrated the tightrope that other candidates running for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination will pass through during the primary season.
The big story
Earlier this week, Trump confirmed on June 9 that he has been indicted over his handling of classified documents after leaving office, in another legal threat to his bid for a second White House term.
"The corrupt Biden Administration has informed my attorneys that I have been Indicted, seemingly over the Boxes Hoax," Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform, though there was no immediate confirmation from the Justice Department regarding Trump's assertion.
A Trump attorney, Jim Trusty, told CNN that his client has been indicted on seven charges, including the deliberate retention of documents in violation of the Espionage Act, making false statements, obstruction of justice, and a count of conspiracy.
In his post, Trump said he has been summoned to a federal courthouse in Miami next Tuesday. "I never thought it possible that such a thing could happen to a former President of the United States," he wrote.
His announcement came a day after US media said federal prosecutors had informed the former President's lawyers that he is the target of the probe into his handling of classified documents.
Trump was already the first former or sitting president to be charged with a crime -- in his case over election-eve hush money payments to a porn star who said she had an affair with him.
Last year, in an interview for CBS News channel, Pence relayed his refusal to testify before the January 6 panel by the House of Representatives for the attack on the US Capitol, on account that Congress "has no right to my testimony."
Pence expressed that doing so would establish a "terrible precedent for the Congress to summon a vice president of the United States to speak about deliberations that took place at the White House."
He said he would not cooperate at his own will. "I'm closing the door on that," he stressed.