An indictment does not have to spell out the alleged facts; it just needs to track the legal elements of a criminal charge. However, to explain to the American public why this is a righteous case, this indictment could (and should) be what is known as a “speaking indictment” and lay out specific obstruction evidence, such as former White House counsel and personal Trump lawyers advising the former president to return the documents; Trump’s reported efforts to hide documents at Mar-a-Lago (and elsewhere); and any specific lies Trump told or caused to be told to the National Archives and Records Administration, the Justice Department and even his own lawyers.
Prosecutors often use a speaking indictment to show the strength of their case, sometimes to provoke a guilty plea, other times to induce people to cooperate and, in this instance, to gain public support for such a historic indictment. Look to see whether the indictment references “hard” evidence — such as audio recordings and written documents (e.g. emails, letters, and contemporaneous notes) — evidence from firsthand witnesses, and even co-conspirators who might have admitted their guilt already (as in a plea agreement).
Information already made public suggests this may be an overwhelming case, but a speaking indictment should provide chapter and verse on any alleged obstructive conduct. [Continue reading…]