What does Trump's indictment mean? Can he still run for president? Here's what to know

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Former President Donald Trump was indicted on Thursday by a federal grand jury on charges linked to his handling of classified documents seized from Mar-a-Lago, his Florida estate.

More than 300 classified documents were recovered from Mar-a-Lago over a year after Trump left office, most in June and August 2022. In a separate case, Trump also faces 34 charges of falsifying business records in New York for hush money payments. He has pleaded not guilty, and his trial is set for March in the New York case.

Trump in on Truth Social on Thursday night said his attorneys were informed that he was indicted, alleging that the move is “election interference” and accusing President Joe Biden’s administration of being corrupt.

But what is an indictment? Can Trump still run for president now that he’s been indicted? Here’s what you need to know.

Donald Trump indicted on seven charges in Mar-a-Lago classified documents case
Donald Trump indicted on seven charges in Mar-a-Lago classified documents case

What does indictment mean?

An indictment is a formal charging document that’s used when it’s believed a person committed a crime. It includes charges against a person and should be filed before a case can move forward in a court, David Weinstein, a former federal and state prosecutor, previously told USA TODAY.

An indictment means a grand jury decided that there’s “more likely than not” enough evidence – based on testimony – to move forward with charging a person, Weinstein said. In a federal court, all cases proceed via indictment.

Can Trump still run for president if he’s indicted?

Yes, Trump can continue his 2024 presidential campaign, even after being indicted again.

"Legally speaking, there is nothing to bar a former president from being indicted for a state crime, running for office – even convicted," said Jessica Levinson, founding director of Loyola Law School's Public Service Institute, previously told USA TODAY. "It really just becomes an issue of, practically, how could you run the country behind bars, if ever came to something like that?"

The Constitution only lays out three requirements to serve as president. You must be:

  • A natural-born citizen

  • At least 35 years old

  • A resident of the U.S. for at least 14 years.

Has Trump been arrested?

No, Trump has not been arrested. If a person is indicted, they are not immediately arrested.

Trump in a statement on Truth Social on Thursday said he was summoned to appear Tuesday at a federal courthouse in Miami at 3 p.m.

What is a classified document?

A classified document includes information deemed sensitive by the government that may have a potential threat to national security if it is released in an unauthorized way. Most documents are classified for the purpose of national security.

There are different levels of classified information: Top secret, secret and confidential. Each level of classification ranks the severity of how leaked information could impact national security.

Contributing: Bart Jansen, USA TODAY

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump indicted: What does that mean? Can he still run for president?