“Fortune Reports the Unsealing of Donald Trump’s Indictment”

Indictment Alleging Mishandling of Classified Documents by Former President Donald Trump

A Sweeping 37-Count Felony Indictment

On Friday, a sweeping 37-count felony indictment was unsealed that could instantly reshape the 2024 presidential race. The indictment alleges that former President Donald Trump described a Pentagon “plan of attack” and shared a classified map related to a military operation. Trump is accused of wilfully defying Justice Department demands to return documents he had taken from the White House to Mar-a-Lago and enlisting aides in his efforts to hide the records.

Accusation of Mishandling Sensitive Information

The indictment paints an unmistakably damning portrait of Trump’s treatment of sensitive information. Trump not only intentionally possessed classified documents but also cavalierly and boastfully showed them off to visitors. The indictment also accuses him of telling his lawyers that he wanted to defy a subpoena for the materials stored in his estate.

Storage of Documents in Mar-a-Lago

Despite the “tens of thousands of members and guests” who visited Mar-a-Lago between January 2021 and August 2022, prosecutors argue that Trump had “nevertheless” stored the documents there. The documents were stored in a ballroom, a bathroom and shower, office space, his bedroom, and a storage room.

Impact on Presidential Primary

The indictment arrives at a time when Trump is continuing to dominate the Republican presidential primary. However, the indictment’s breadth of allegations and startling scope will be harder for Republicans to rail against than an earlier New York criminal case that many legal analysts had derided as weak.

Scope and Allegations of the Indictment

The 49-page charging document includes 37 counts, which taken together, could result in a yearslong prison sentence. 31 of the counts pertain to the willful retention of national defense information, and the rest relate to alleged conspiracy, obstruction, and false statements. The indictment is built on Trump’s own words and actions as recounted to prosecutors by lawyers, close aides, and other witnesses.

First Court Appearance and Co-Defendant

Trump is due to make his first court appearance Tuesday in federal court in Miami, where the case was filed. He was charged alongside Walt Nauta, an aide and close adviser to Trump who prosecutors say brought boxes from a storage room to Trump’s residence for him to review and later lied to investigators about the movement.

Additional Legal Jeopardy

The case adds to Donald Trump’s deepening legal jeopardy. He has already been indicted in New York and faces additional investigations in Washington and Atlanta that also could lead to criminal charges. Legal experts and Trump’s aides had long seen the Mar-a-Lago probe as the most perilous threat and the one most ripe for prosecution.

Unauthorized Disclosure of Defense and Foreign Intelligence-Related Information

Enumerating the defense and foreign intelligence-related information included in the documents, prosecutors wrote that their “unauthorized disclosure … could put at risk the national security of the United States, foreign relations, the safety of the United States military, and human sources and the continued viability of sensitive intelligence collection methods.”


The felony indictment alleging mishandling of classified documents by former President Donald Trump is a significant development that will likely have a lasting impact on his political future. The breadth of allegations and the scope of the indictment are startling. This case adds to the deepening legal jeopardy that Trump is facing and will be harder for Republicans to justify than previous legal cases.

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