A report suggests that former President Donald Trump could potentially face an imprisonment period ranging from 18 months to nine years if found guilty in his ongoing classified documents case.
Over the past six years, at least seven individuals who confessed to infringing the same section of the Espionage Act of 1917, under which Trump is charged, received sentences ranging from 18 months to nine years, as reported by CBS News. The report also indicated that more than half of these individuals received sentences lighter than what the government had requested.
National security lawyer Mark Zaid informed CBS News that such cases seldom reach trial and none of those found guilty under 18 U.S.C. 793(e) in the last six years were sentenced to the maximum ten-year imprisonment. Zaid added that the usual sentencing period for these cases is around three to six years.
A former FBI intelligence analyst, Kendra Kingsbury, who faced a case closely resembling Trump’s, was recently sentenced to 46 months in prison for willingly retaining national defense secrets. Kingsbury was charged with illegally retaining 386 classified documents at her home in Kansas and pleaded guilty to two counts of violating the Espionage Act related to 20 of these documents.
Despite the parallels between the two cases, Zaid suggested that Trump could receive a lengthier prison sentence than Kingsbury if convicted on the federal charges brought against him by the Department of Justice, due to the higher level of classified information he allegedly mishandled.
Trump was indicted by a federal grand jury in June on 37 counts relating to the alleged mishandling of classified documents discovered at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, and obstruction of government efforts to retrieve these files. He has pleaded not guilty to these charges.
Following his arraignment on June 24, Trump condemned the application of the Espionage Act in his case, calling it “one of the most outrageous and vicious legal theories ever put forward in an American court of law” since it is typically used against “traitors and spies.” The charges against Trump pertain to the “unauthorized possession” of sensitive national defense-related documents.
Trump’s legal team recently requested a trial delay, potentially postponing it until after the 2024 elections. Despite his ongoing legal issues, recent polls suggest that Trump is currently the leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination.