Lawyers for former President Donald Trump have been told he is the target of the federal criminal investigation into possible mishandling of classified information after he left office, according to three sources familiar with communication between the two parts.
Justice Department regulations allow prosecutors to notify individuals that they are the target of a grand jury investigation before prosecutors seek an indictment. According to the department manual, such notification is sent to give individuals the opportunity to testify before the grand jury before any prosecution. The practice also gives defense attorneys the opportunity to present their case against an indictment.
On Wednesday, Special Counsel Jack Smith presented evidence to a grand jury in Miami, Florida, and heard testimony from, a former Trump aide and spokesperson. The previous grand jury testimony was heard in Washington, D.C.
This development, according to two sources, indicates that if criminal charges are brought, some could be filed in Florida for jurisdictional reasons. The records marked classified were recovered from Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s home in Palm Beach, where at least some of the alleged misconduct occurred.
Witnesses who appeared before the Washington grand jury included Mar-a-Lago employees, as well as aides and attorneys close to Trump.
The investigation stems from efforts by the National Archives to recover missing White House documents in the possession of the federal government. An FBI search of Mar-a-Lago in August 2022 led to the discovery of over 100 documents with classified marks.
Smith was named special counsel in November by Attorney General Merrick Garland. He is also conducting a separate investigation into the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, as well as the investigation into the documents.
Trump’s Lawyersincluding Smith himself, to discuss their concerns about the conduct during the investigation.
Trump has consistently denied any wrongdoing in the matter and called the investigation politically motivated.
He posted Tuesday afternoon on Truth Social, his social media platform, that “no one told me I was charged.”
“And I shouldn’t be because I did NOTHING wrong,” Trump wrote.