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If Trump gets convicted of the Espionage Act, he faces a 10-year prison sentence, legal analyst says

Business Insider logo Business Insider 8/14/2022 ydzhanova@businessinsider.com (Yelena Dzhanova)
Former US President Donald Trump waves while walking to a vehicle outside of Trump Tower in New York City on August 10, 2022. - STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images © STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images Former US President Donald Trump waves while walking to a vehicle outside of Trump Tower in New York City on August 10, 2022. - STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images
  • The Espionage Act is among the three laws Donald Trump may have violated following the FBI raid.
  • Trump, if convicted of violating the Espionage Act, faces 10 years in prison, a legal analyst said.
  • "We're talking about real serious crimes here," Lisa Rubin, a legal analyst, told MSNBC.

A legal analyst said former President Donald Trump could receive a 10-year prison sentence if he's convicted of violating the Espionage Act, a law that dates back to World War I.

The statute "that puts him in the most danger is far as I know right now, is 18 U.S.C. §§ 793, that's a portion of The Espionage Act, for which each violation carries a maximum penalty of 10 years," said Lisa Rubin, legal analyst with the Rachel Maddow Show. 

The law essentially bars anyone from sharing or disseminating information that could potentially harm or disadvantage the US. 

Rubin's remarks come amid an FBI probe into the former president's Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida. The FBI on Monday conducted a raid on his Florida property, and unsealed court documents reveal that the probe was part of an investigation into whether Trump had violated three laws related to the handling of government documents.

The FBI during its search recovered 11 boxes containing classified records that Trump took with him from the White House once he left office, according to the court records made public Friday. Some of the boxes were distinctly marked as "top secret," Insider's Sonam Sheth reported.

"We're talking about real serious crimes here," Rubin said.

Trump has so far denied all assertions of wrongdoing, saying that he had "declassified" the documents. He's also lodged a new defense, saying, "Everyone ends up having to bring home their work from time to time."

Rubin gave a reminder that Trump could also face charges resulting from the investigation into the Capitol riot conducted by the Jan. 6 committee. 

"We're not even contemplating anything related to the 6th right now," she said. The 10-year prison sentence is "just solely with respect to the alteration, destruction, and removal of government documents. Some of which might be classified, some of which might not be."

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