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Trump faces U.S. criminal charges for mishandling documents – source

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By Sarah N. Lynch

(Reuters) -Former U.S. President Donald Trump has been indicted by a federal grand jury for retaining classified government documents and obstruction of justice, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The criminal case, brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, amounts to another legal setback for Trump as he seeks to regain the U.S. presidency next year. He already faces a criminal case in New York that is due to go to trial in March.

“The corrupt Biden Administration has informed my attorneys that I have been Indicted, seemingly over the Boxes Hoax,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform.

Trump wrote that he had been summoned to appear at the federal courthouse in Miami on Tuesday.

Trump’s attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Special Counsel Jack Smith, the Justice Department official who is handling the investigation, declined to comment.

Trump faces seven criminal counts in the federal case, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Reuters could not immediately learn what specific charges Trump is facing. In a sworn statement to a federal court last year, an FBI agent said there was probable cause to believe several crimes were committed, including obstruction and the illegal retention of sensitive defense records.

The Justice Department has been investigating whether Trump mishandled classified documents he retained after leaving the White House in 2021.

Investigators seized roughly 13,000 documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, nearly a year ago. One hundred were marked as classified, even though one of Trump’s lawyers had previously said all records with classified markings had been returned to the government.

Trump has previously defended his retention of documents, suggesting he declassified them while president. However, Trump has not provided evidence of this and his attorneys have declined to make that argument in court filings.

It marks the second time that Trump, the first former president in U.S. history to face criminal charges, has been indicted.

In April, he pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records relating to hush money paid to a porn star before the 2016 election.

President from 2017 to 2021, Trump is the front-runner in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

Through the years Trump has shown an uncanny ability to weather controversies that might torpedo other politicians. He describes himself as the victim of a politically motivated witch hunt and accuses the Justice Department of partisan bias.

Trump’s lead has grown over his rivals in the Republican nominating contest since he was indicted in the New York case, Reuters/Ipsos polling shows.

Trump also faces a second federal criminal investigation into efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden, a Democrat.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas in Los Angeles and Sarah N. Lynch in Washington; additional reporting by Nathan Layne; Editing by Andy Sullivan, Christopher Cushing and Daniel Wallis)

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