New charges for Trump in classified documents case involve video evidence
Former President Donald Trump is shown waving after he appeared for an arraignment in federal court on June 13, 2023 in Miami, Florida. Trump that day pleaded not guilty to federal charges including possession of national security documents after leaving office, obstruction, and making false statements. (Photo by Alon Skuy/Getty Images)
A federal grand jury added three felony charges against Donald Trump on Thursday in the case alleging the former president took classified materials from the White House after his term ended.
Trump directed employees to destroy video evidence that could aid the prosecution in the criminal case, according to a 60-page superseding indictment filed Thursday afternoon full of new information about the case.
After federal prosecutors asked for footage from a security camera that could have held classified documents and was outside a Mar-a-Lago storage room, Trump sent employees Waltine Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira to have the club’s information technology director erase the footage, the new charges allege.
De Oliveira, a property manager and former valet, had not been named in the initial charging document. Nauta was listed as a co-defendant from the start.
The updated indictment added five counts — three of which involve Trump — to the allegations unsealed last month. Trump is now charged with 40 felony counts in the case.
The additional charges stem from Trump and his employees’ activity following a June 2022 visit to Trump’s South Florida estate and club by FBI agents to collect classified documents Trump was to turn over, according to the indictment. Agents noticed a security camera near a storage room and less than three weeks later, federal prosecutors subpoenaed footage from that camera, the indictment says.
Trump phoned De Oliveira that night and the two spoke for 24 minutes. Another Trump employee texted Nauta the next day, and the aide canceled his scheduled travel with Trump from New Jersey to Illinois and instead arranged travel to Florida, according to the indictment.
In the following days, De Oliveira and Nauta sought to keep Nauta’s presence in Florida secret. The two visited a security booth where surveillance footage is displayed and the camera near the storage room, according to the indictment.
On the morning of June 27, De Oliveira spoke to the head of information technology for Mar-a-Lago and told the employee “‘the boss’ wanted the server deleted,” the indictment said.
When the IT employee answered that he did not know how to do that and suggested De Oliveira contact the head of security, De Oliveira repeated that “the boss” wanted the server cleared, according to the indictment.
De Oliveira and Nauta went back to the IT office later that day. Trump and De Oliveira then spoke by phone, according to the indictment.
Trump is already facing another indictment, on New York state charges, and could soon see federal charges in a separate case related to his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
He remains leading the Republican field to challenge President Joe Biden in next year’s election.
After the new indictment was filed Thursday, the Trump campaign released a statement attacking Special Counsel Jack Smith and Biden.
“This is nothing more than a continued desperate and flailing attempt by the Biden Crime Family and their Department of Justice to harass President Trump and those around him,” the campaign said.
Trump’s attorneys met with Smith’s staff earlier Thursday to discuss a potential pending indictment for Trump’s role in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, according to reports.
Trump said last week that he’d received a target letter indicating charges in that case were forthcoming.
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