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Trump casts his federal indictment as a biased abuse of power

Former President Donald Trump exits the stage after speaking at the Georgia Republican convention on Saturday, in Columbus, Ga., his first public appearance responding to the unsealing of his federal indictment.
John Bazemore
/
AP
Former President Donald Trump exits the stage after speaking at the Georgia Republican convention on Saturday, in Columbus, Ga., his first public appearance responding to the unsealing of his federal indictment.

Updated June 10, 2023 at 9:11 PM ET

Former President Donald Trump on Saturday cast his federal indictment as election interference and an abuse of power by the Biden administration.

Speaking to the crowd at the Georgia Republican Convention in Columbus, Trump made his first public remarks since the Department of Justice unsealed an indictment a day earlier laying out its case that the former president and an aide mishandled classified documents.

"The ridiculous and baseless indictment of me by the Biden administration's weaponized 'Department of Injustice' will go down as among the most horrific abuses of power in the history of our country," Trump said. "This vicious persecution is a travesty of justice."

Despite his past and impending legal troubles, Trump remains the 2024 Republican presidential frontrunner.

"They've launched one witch hunt after another to try and stop our movement," he told the crowd. "They're not coming after me, they're coming after you."

Trump also spoke to the North Carolina Republican convention on Saturday evening.

The indictment includes 37 federal counts against Trump over his storage of national defense documents at his Florida resort and refusal to turn them over to the FBI and the National Archives. The charges also include conspiracies to obstruct justice and false statements.

Each charge carries a fine up to $250,000, and maximum prison sentences between five and 20 years.

Trump told Politico on Saturday that he would continue to campaign even if convicted.

In public comments following Friday's release of the indictment, Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith defended the ethical rigor of his team's work. He also emphasized that "the defendants in this case must be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law."

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