Trump Charged with Attempting to Conceal Security Camera Footage in Documents Case

Federal prosecutors announced new charges against Donald Trump in his alleged accumulation and concealing of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago residence, alleging the former president and a newly-charged aide attempted to prevent security camera footage from being examined by investigators.

Trump was also hit with an additional charge, on top of the 31 counts he already faces, of unlawfully retaining national defense information.

The indictment asserts that Trump and two aides, Waltine “Walt” Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira, requested that another Trump employee "erase security camera footage at the Mar-a-Lago Club to prevent the footage from being provided to a federal grand jury.”

De Oliveira is the second Trump aide to be charged in the documents case. Nauta was indicted alongside Trump in June, accused of assisting the former president in deceiving investigators as they attempted to recover all of the classified documents that remained at the former president’s residence and private club after he left the White House.

Individuals familiar with the investigation have informed The Washington Post that investigators for special counsel Jack Smith repeatedly pressed De Oliveira to clarify his actions from June 2022, when he assisted Nauta in moving boxes around Trump’s residence, and in July 2022, when he allegedly had discussions with others about security camera footage. The individuals, who spoke anonymously to discuss secret grand jury proceedings, have stated that investigators grew increasingly doubtful of De Oliveira’s explanations as the investigation progressed.

De Oliveira’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung referred to the charges unveiled Thursday as “a continued desperate and flailing attempt” to harass the former president, who is once again seeking the GOP nomination for the White House, and those around him.

Trump was indicted last month in Miami, accused of unlawfully retaining classified documents at Mar-a-Lago long after he left the White House, and obstructing government efforts to retrieve them.

The previous indictment charged him with 37 separate counts, 31 of which were for alleged intentional retention of national defense information. Each of those 31 counts represents a distinct classified document that Trump purportedly withheld — 21 that were discovered when the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago last August, and 10 that were handed over to the FBI in a sealed envelope two months earlier. Nauta, his longtime valet, initially faced six charges, including conspiracy to obstruct justice, withholding a document, concealing a document, and scheming to conceal.

The new indictment adds a total of four charges to the previous case. All three defendants are now charged with altering, destroying, mutilating, or concealing an object, as well as a similar offense of corruptly altering, destroying, mutilating, or concealing a document or object.

De Oliveira was also charged with lying to the FBI in a January interview where he allegedly denied witnessing boxes being moved or assisting in moving boxes.

Both Trump and Nauta pleaded not guilty after the initial indictment, and U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon scheduled a trial to commence next May, when the 2024 presidential campaign will be well underway and the GOP nomination could potentially be decided.

Due to the involvement of highly classified documents, the process of reviewing evidence will be complex and could result in significant delays.

Separate from the documents investigation, Smith and his team have been examining attempts by Trump and his allies to impede Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory, including the events leading up to the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol. Trump announced last week that his lawyers had been informed by the Justice Department that he could face charges in that case as well. On Thursday, his lawyers met with prosecutors regarding the investigation, as stated in a message posted by Trump on Truth Social.

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طلحة عبد الكريم
By : طلحة عبد الكريم
مدير و محرر مدونة الموقع التقني.