Donald Trump has been charged with uncovering classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort, the former president announced on Thursday in a decision by special prosecutor Jack Smith.
Smith, a former prosecutor and Justice Department official, has been in the midst of two federal investigations into Trump's conduct, one of which concerns Trump's manipulation of the certification of the 2020 election and the other about the former president's mishandling of classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago.
Over a six-month investigation, Smith and his team interviewed former White House officials, Donald Trump aides, and Mar-a-Lago staff before handing down the decision on Thursday.
Smith, who is a registered independent, was appointed in November 2022 by the US attorney general, Merrick Garland, to oversee the two investigations. The Department of Justice hasn't made a decision about Trump's role in the conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election.
After being appointed, Smith, then the chief prosecutor of the international criminal court, worked first from the Netherlands while he recovered from a cycling accident. In a separate interview, Smith resigned from a position in which he investigated war crimes in Kosovo and took up the position as a special prosecutor in the US.
Smith, whose career encompasses three decades, spent more than a decade in New York, where he worked as an assistant US attorney from 1999 to 2008 after a stint as a prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney's office. Its current chief, Alvin Bragg, filed a 34-count indictment against Trump for falsifying business records to conceal hush payments to the adult film actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election cycle.
He was an assistant US attorney in Tennessee and served as acting US attorney for a short time. With the Watergate scandal, Smith oversaw the justice Department's public integrity section, which was created from 2010 to 2015 to oversee corruption and prosecute crimes by government officials.
In 2018, Smith was appointed the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) by the Government of the United States.
Garland announced on Monday that he would appoint Jack Smith as special prosecutor overseeing the two federal criminal investigations, days after Trump announced he would again run for president.
Earlier this week, Smith was seen meeting with Justice Department lawyers and members of Trump's defense team, in a sign he would soon hand down a decision. The Trump team then informed Trump's lawyers in a letter that the ex-president was a target of the documents investigation, according to multiple reports.
Mark Meadows, formerly Trump's chief of staff, testified before a grand jury in Florida on Wednesday, in another sign that the investigation was nearing its end.
He had also maintained that he was unaware of the indictment.
No one has told me I m being indicted and I shouldn t be because I ve done nothing wrong, Trump said.
The evidence found in Smith's investigation is otherwise: among the evidence is an audio tape where Trump says he kept a secret document detailing a potential attack on Iran.
In 2024, Donald Trump is currently the most likely candidate for the Republican nomination.