(Bloomberg) -- Special counsel Jack Smith pledged a “speedy trial” for Donald Trump, in brief remarks after the former president was indicted over his refusal to return classified documents.
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“My office will seek a speedy trial on this matter consistent with the public interest and the rights of the accused,” Smith said at a press conference Friday.
His team brought seven charges against Trump, including willful retention of national defense information, corruptly concealing documents, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and making false statements, according to the indictment, unsealed earlier the same day in federal court in Miami.
The charges center on Trump’s refusal to return classified documents found at his Florida home, marking the first time a former president has faced federal allegations of criminal conduct.
‘One Set of Laws’
Trump and his allies have criticized Smith’s investigation, claiming the special counsel is biased against the 45th president.
“We have one set of laws in this country, and they apply to everyone,” Smith said. He defended his prosecutors against the criticism, saying they operated with the “highest ethical standards” and adding: “They will continue to do so as this case proceeds.”
Smith emphasized the need to safeguard the sensitive work done by the country’s defense and intelligence agencies.
“The men and women of the United States intelligence community and our armed forces dedicate their lives to protecting our nation and its people,” he said. “Our laws that protect national defense information are critical to the safety and security of the United States, and they must be enforced.”
Smith and his team gathered evidence for the charges from witnesses and other sources in a two-year effort to figure out which government documents Trump kept when he left the White House and whether any crimes were committed in the process.
He is also supervising a probe into whether Trump committed any crimes in connection with his effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
Trump, who denies wrongdoing, has said the investigations are part of a larger partisan effort to scuttle his campaign to regain the White House in 2024 and that they amount to “election interference.”
The case is US v. Trump, 23-cr-80101, US District Court, Southern District of Florida.
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