Legal professionals have spoken out with corrections following claims made by Donald Trump’s lawyer on Saturday.
Alina Habba, a New Jersey attorney currently working on behalf of the former president, appeared on conservative new channel Newsmax TV on Saturday. During her time, she discussed the specific statute cited in the FBI’s search for Mar-a-Lago, claiming that it is a seldom-used law used only for political purposes by the Biden administration.
“In a hundred years they have never used this statute,” Habba claimed. “It’s outdated, it’s old, it exists for no other purpose than real espionage. But leave it to the Biden administration to run it against President Trump, because he leads in the polls.”
The statute that Habba was referring to is 18 US Code 793, which is under the “Espionage and Censorship” section of US law. According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), the section “applies to activities such as collecting, passing on to an unauthorized person or losing information related to national defense and conspiracies to commit such criminal acts.”
Habba’s comment began circulating online after the segment aired and met with resistance from numerous legal professionals, who claimed her opinion of the statute was incorrect. Renato Mariotti, former federal prosecutor and current columnist for Politicssaid Habba should know better.
“I’m not sure if Alina knows Hanna any better, but anyone who does a simple web search can confirm that her claims are false,” he wrote in a tweet.
Asha Rangappa, a former FBI special agent and attorney, went one step further, citing charges against an FBI employee last year.
Rangappa’s tweet contained screenshots of documents setting out the case against the employee, Kendra Kingsbury, who worked as an intelligence analyst with the Kansas City Division of the Bureau. In May last year, she was charged with illegally removing documents related to national security and keeping them in her home, according to the official DOJ press release. Kingsbury was reportedly involved in this behavior from 2004 to 2017.
“As an intelligence analyst for the FBI, the defendant was entrusted with access to sensitive government materials,” explains Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers of the DOJ’s National Security Division. “Kingsbury has allegedly violated our nation’s trust by stealing and preserving classified documents in her home for years. Threats from within pose a significant threat to our national security, and we will continue to work relentlessly to identify, pursue and prosecute individuals. ” a threat.”
News week contacted Trump’s office for comment.