Donald Trump has been indicted by a federal grand jury for retaining classified government documents and obstruction of justice, Reuters reported quoting a lawyer for the former US president.
The criminal case, brought by the US Department of Justice, amounts to another legal setback for Trump as he seeks to regain the US presidency next year. He already faces a criminal case in New York that is due to go to trial in March.
Trump said on social media that he had been summoned to appear at the federal courthouse in Miami on Tuesday. “I AM AN INNOCENT MAN!” he wrote on his Truth Social platform.
The news agency quoting a spokesperson for Special Counsel Jack Smith, said the Justice Department official who is handling the investigation, declined to comment. It is illegal for the government to comment publicly on any sealed grand jury matter.
In a sworn statement to a federal court in 2022, a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent said there was probable cause to believe several crimes were committed, including obstruction and the illegal retention of sensitive defence records.
The United States Justice Department has been investigating whether Trump mishandled classified documents he retained after leaving the White House in 2021.
Investigators seized roughly 13,000 documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, nearly a year ago.
One hundred were marked as classified, even though one of Trump’s lawyers had previously said all records with classified markings had been returned to the US government.
Trump has previously defended his retention of documents, suggesting he declassified them while president.
However, Trump has not provided evidence of this and his attorneys have declined to make that argument in court filings.
This marks the second time that Trump, the first former president in US history to face criminal charges, has been indicted.
In April, he pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records relating to hush money paid to a porn star before the 2016 election.