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UMKC law professor says search warrant at former President Trump's estate a 'serious matter'

UMKC Law professor sean o'brien
Posted at 10:59 PM, Aug 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-12 23:59:22-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The unsealed search warrant for former President Donald Trump's Florida home doesn't provide a complete picture of a possible case against the former president, but there are hints.

"The application has to explain why they believe that evidence will be found at this location and also explain why the evidence would support the prosecution for a particular crime," Sean O’Brien, a professor at the UMKC Law School

FBI agents removed eleven sets of classified documents, including one set that can only be viewed in a secure facility where cell phones aren't allowed.

"Improper possession of those can support a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and so these are military documents, or they wouldn't have cited that section," O'Brien said.

There also could be a violation of the espionage act.

"You don’t have to succeed in passing along secrets," O'Brien said. "You just have to create the danger by the improper handling of the documents."

The Justice Department is also looking into obstruction of justice, a crime that carries a sentence of up to twenty years.

"Sometimes the evidence that they obtain indicates that there is evidence of additional crimes that they should investigate so that we might see more warrants, "O'Brien said. "So for example, one of the documents seized in connection with these specific crimes is the clemency file of Roger Stone. So somehow, the U.S. Attorney has probable cause to think these things are connected," O'Brien said.

Investigators will now review the evidence and present it to a grand jury.

The grand jury will decide whether to hand up an indictment.

"This is unheard of for a U.S. president to be suspected of this. It's unheard of for a U.S. president to have done this," O'Brien said. "Serving a warrant on a former U.S. President is a serious matter."