Trump Faces Criminal Charges After Hiding Legal Documents in Mar-A-Lago Home


Image Courtesy of Joyce Boghosian

Michael Arnwine, Online Staff Writer

Whether due to his infamous late-night tweets or his controversial political beliefs, Former President Donald Trump has always been famously divisive among the American populace. Following his succession by President Joe Biden, he has slowly faded from the spotlight, secluding himself to his various homes across the U.S.A. However, this has recently changed as he found himself in significant legal trouble. It is alleged that Trump hid several top-secret legal documents within his residence in Palm Beach, Florida– the Mar-A-Lago Club. The Department of Justice (DOJ) is now investigating if these actions warrant any criminal charges, which could lead to as much as thirty-three years in prison.

This whole situation started after Trump stepped down from his role as President of the United States. Typically, it is not unusual for the President to have rooms within their residences holding various legal documents relating to national defense. Following their term, it is required by law that the Former President must return these documents back to the National Records and Archives (NARA). In May of 2021 NARA noticed numerous documents missing, which led them to the conclusion that Trump still held many of them. NARA reached out to Trump’s team for months demanding the return of these documents; all attempts resulted in either a refusal of ownership or no response. Finally, in December of 2021, it was revealed that Trump had numerous top-secret legal documents within his Mar-A-Lago residence.

Following this discovery, Trump’s team voluntarily turned over 15 boxes of documents in January of 2022. These boxes contained 67 documents marked confidential, 92 marked secret, and 25 marked top-secret. In increasing order, confidential, secret, and top-secret are rankings of the threat national security would face if the document got leaked to foreign entities. In February of 2022, the DOJ opened a criminal investigation against Trump, claiming that he violated three federal laws: most notably, the Espionage Act. This act prohibits obtaining, recording, or copying information relating to national defense with the intent of using it for the injury of the United States. The other two charges related to the concealment of destruction. Junior Farhan Haque commented on the case, stating “I think he should be charged as he’s taken documents that include sensitive and classified information, which could lead to a dangerous situation if they got into the wrong hands.” The DOJ alleged that Trump and his team concealed and removed classified documents, and that there may still be other documents that have not been turned over – due to them being mixed up with other documents or not properly recorded. 

In response Trump has denied all of these claims, stating that the President has the power to declassify any legal documents at their will, which he supposedly did with the documents in his Mar-A-Lago residence. The Former President had also hinted that the FBI and NARA planted the documents found in his home, stating that the organizations are “corrupt” and “weaponized”. Junior Emile Sentveld shared their thoughts on the matter, saying “They’re obviously going to investigate you [Trump]….actions have consequences.” After Trump’s remarks, he asked a federal judge in Florida to appoint a third-party special master to review the seized documents, and filter out any that are protected under executive privilege. This suggestion was granted by US District Judge Alieen Cannon. However, the DOJ asked the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to block Cannon’s ruling, stating that this would only delay the investigation – which was granted by the court. Most recently a search warrant was obtained by the DOJ, which was granted due to the probable cause of documents still residing in Trump’s Mar-A-Lago residence. 

Overall, this case is a reminder of the rule-of-law that all citizens of the United States are subjected to. Regardless of class and power, the people can still come together to bring justice to those in high positions. This relates not only to this specific case, as with any injustice there will also be those with high privilege who try to evade punishment. Though, with enough people banding together, we can make the world a more equal place, one step at a time.

This case is still ongoing, and the Spokesman will attempt to update it as information becomes public.