After searching Donald Trump’s home, the former US President may have incriminated himself. Julie O’Sullivan, a law professor at Georgetown University, told the New York Times. She refers to statements made by Trump after the publication of documents about the raid on his property in Mar-a-Lago.
In mid-August, the Justice Department released the search warrant and a receipt for confiscated items. According to this, the FBI found, among other things, a set of documents classified as “Top Secret/SCI”, which are top secret and may only be viewed in special government institutions. Four of the confiscated sets of documents were classified as “Top Secret”, three more as “Secret” and the remaining three as “Confidential”.
Trump pointed out all allegations: He claimed that all documents had been released, so the secrecy had been lifted. This statement could now be fatal to the ex-president. “He’s making a mistake if he thinks it matters whether it (the documents) is top secret or not,” O’Sullivan told the New York Times. “He’s basically admitting he knew he had her.”
If Trump knew that confidential to top secret documents were still in his possession, the mere fact that he had not returned the documents to the National Archives could constitute the obstruction of a federal agency, the white-collar crime expert explains to the US medium.
At the end of 2002, the criminal offense of obstruction was tightened by authorities. In the wake of several financial scandals, Section 1519 was incorporated into US legislation. It states: “Anyone who knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document or tangible object in order to impede the investigation (…) is liable under this title a fine or imprisonment for a maximum of 20 years, or both.”