Former US President Donald Trump could be banned from holding public office if he is found guilty of mishandling White House records.
This is coming after his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida was raided by the FBI Monday, August 9, as part of an investigation into whether he took classified documents with him when he left presidential office.
The former president reportedly took 15 boxes of material with him in January 2021 after he left Washington D.C. The boxes were returned to the National Archives a year later in January 2022 but agents are looking to see if Trump had additional material.
Donald Trump could be banned from holding public office if he is found guilty of mishandling classified White House records after raid – Legal experts warn
According to Mail Online, federal law prohibits someone convicted of mishandling documents from holding any office in the US, legal experts have warned could be a ‘huge’ development for Trump’s hopes to run for president in 2024.
‘If Trump is convicted under this federal statute, he would be prohibited from holding any office including the office of the president,’ former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani told DailyMail.com. ‘That would be huge.’
Trump could be facing ‘significant criminal exposure’ if the FBI raid determines he destroyed government records, Rahmani, who is president of West Coast Trial Lawyers, told DailyMail.com Monday night.
He said Trump would likely be charged under US Code Title 18, Section 2071 which involves concealment or destruction of US government documents.
The code states that anyone who ‘willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, or destroys, or attempts to do so, or, with intent to do so takes and carries away any record’ could be fined and sentenced to a maximum of three years in prison.
The provision also states that anyone convicted of records concealment or destruction ‘shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States.’
‘His lawyers told him about the law requiring that he preserve White House documents, so he was on notice and that will bolster the case and help prove intent if prosecutors charge Trump.’
‘FBI agents, in an investigation like this, are not always going to find every missing document or even discover every instance where a paper went missing,’Rahmani warned. ‘It’s not hard to destroy documents and in some cases investigators will never find any evidence that a document even existed.’
He added: ‘In other instances, investigators can figure out something is missing, if for example they have testimony from a government official who says he was tasked with writing up a transcript and he did that, but the document can’t be found anywhere. Then you know someone destroyed it. But figuring out who did that can be another mystery.’
Rahmani noted the raid of Trump’s home was likely carried out only by agents involved in searching for documents that should have been in the National Archives.
He said the agents investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the US Capitol ‘may have nothing to do with this operation.’
‘But if evidence comes out from the raid that sheds light on Trump’s involvement in the Capitol Riot, then that will absolutely become part of the Jan. 6 investigation,’ the legal expert added.