In a new development in the ongoing Mar-a-Lago probe, sources indicate that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is expected to indict former President Donald Trump for alleged mishandling of classified materials.
This comes amid a burst of activity in the investigation, which has seen the recovery of over 325 unique classified documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. The potential indictment marks a pivotal turning point in the probe and may have significant implications for the political landscape as the 2024 election looms.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday:
Special counsel Jack Smith has all but finished obtaining testimony and other evidence in his criminal investigation into whether former President Donald Trump mishandled classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort, according to people familiar with the matter.
Some of Trump’s close associates are bracing for his indictment and anticipate being able to fundraise off a prosecution, people in the former president’s circle said, as clashes within the Trump legal team have led to the departure of a key lawyer.
In recent weeks prosecutors working for Smith have completed interviews with nearly every employee at Trump’s Florida home, from top political aides to maids and maintenance staff, the people said. Prosecutors have pressed witnesses—some in multiple rounds of testimony—on questions that appeared to home in on specific elements Smith’s team would need to show to prove a crime, including those that speak to Trump’s intentions, and questions aimed at undermining potential defenses Trump could raise, they said.
Last week, Timothy Parlatore, an attorney who was part of Trump’s legal team and played a significant role in the Mar-a-Lago documents investigation, left the former president’s team. The departure had been rumored for some weeks within Trump’s inner circle. The timing of Parlatore’s exit coincided with Jack Smith’s apparent approach to the conclusion of investigations concerning the potential mishandling of classified documents and attempts to obstruct the 2020 election.
The probe is an ongoing investigation into the potential mishandling of classified materials at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. The Justice Department is conducting a criminal probe and US intelligence agencies are assessing the damage. The investigation has been marked by frequent updates and significant political fallout as the 2024 election approaches.
At least 325 unique classified documents have been recovered from Mar-a-Lago. Some of these documents were at the highest level of classification, including some in a “SAP” program that severely restricts access. One of the documents reportedly described a foreign government’s military defenses, including its nuclear capabilities.
In a landmark ruling, Federal District Judge Aileen Cannon granted Trump’s request to appoint a “special master” to independently review everything that the FBI seized from Mar-a-Lago. Both the Justice Department and Trump’s lawyers proposed selections for this role. The judge also blocked the Justice Department from using any of the seized materials in connection with the ongoing criminal probe, potentially slowing down the investigation.
The Justice Department appealed the ruling, arguing that it was putting US national security at risk. The ruling has been critiqued by a wide array of legal scholars, Trump critics, and even some former Trump allies. Former Attorney General William Barr, a Trump loyalist during his tenure who broke with Trump over the 2020 election, called on prosecutors to appeal the ruling.