Past cases with classified papers show legal risk for Trump, experts say

By | December 23, 2022

The Washington Post reports:

In Kansas City, a former FBI analyst pleaded guilty in October to taking home more than 300 classified files or documents, including highly sensitive material about al-Qaeda and an associate of Osama bin Laden. She faces up to 10 years in prison. In Massachusetts, a defense contractor pleaded guilty in 2019 to removing classified national defense information from his office and storing it at home. He got 18 months.

And in Maryland, Harold Martin, a former government contractor, took home a huge number of hard and digital copies of classified materials — the equivalent of 500 million pages — though he never shared it with anyone. He is midway through a nine-year prison sentence.

“For nearly 20 years, Harold Martin betrayed the trust placed in him by stealing and retaining a vast quantity of highly classified national defense information entrusted to him,” U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur said in a Justice Department news release in 2019. “This sentence, which is one of the longest ever imposed in this type of case, should serve as a warning that we will find and prosecute government employees and contractors who flagrantly violate their duty to protect classified materials.”

No U.S. president has ever been charged with a crime, and experts say any classified-documents prosecution involving a former commander in chief would be more complicated and fraught than the average case. But they also say past cases illustrate the potential legal exposure facing Donald Trump, who is under investigation for keeping thousands of government papers, some highly sensitive and more than 300 marked classified, at his Florida residence and popular private club. [Continue reading…]

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