Grand jury probe may reveal Trump stole top-secret documents for 'personal profit' post-presidency: legal expert
Donald Trump (AFP)

A federal grand jury is investigating Donald Trump's handling of classified materials found in boxes at Mar-A-Lago, and a legal expert said the matter should be getting much more attention.

The development shows the Department of Justice believes a crime may have been committed, and MSNBC's Frank Figliuzzi said publicly available reporting already shows the 15 boxes of top-secret materials are believed to have been kept in the White House residence before they were boxed up and sent to Trump's private residence.

"Fifteen boxes of classified documents sitting in the residential wing of the White House doesn’t sound like a mistake to me," wrote Figliuzzi, a former FBI special agent. "That sounds deliberate and less like an error that could be attributed to staff. Virtually every day during my 25 years with the FBI, I handled classified information. It was my experience that staffers, whose job is to know and comply with the rules and regulations for handling such data, don’t deliberately break those rules unless someone at a high level makes them break those rules. That’s why I don’t believe this grand jury is targeting low-level staffers."

Investigators will also want to know what materials were in those boxes, and why the former president may have taken them home with him.

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"As Justice Department investigators examine the documents, they’ll be able to see whether the contents held some value to Trump or those around him and possibly determine whether Trump could benefit from whatever’s in those documents," Figliuzzi wrote. "We mustn’t forget that during Trump’s term, his family members parlayed their relationship with him into personal profit and that while he was president, Trump’s own businesses reportedly raked in $2.4 billion."

The case might actually be bigger than it already looks, he said.

"The first step to solving the Mar-a-Lago mystery is to get those documents into the hands of federal prosecutors and agents," Figliuzzi wrote. "The convening of a grand jury suggests that may have already happened. Now, we wait for the mystery to be solved."