Charges against former President Donald Trump continue to pile up — this time in the form of a superseding indictment in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case filed by federal prosecutors in Florida.
According to the government, Trump and his co-conspirators not only tried to keep information from investigators in an alleged attempt to obstruct justice, but they also tried to have security footage showing them moving boxes of improperly retained documents between Trump’s residence and a storage room on the property.
“Trump endeavored to obstruct the FBI and grand jury investigations and conceal his continued retention of classified documents by, among other things […] attempting to delete security camera footage at The Mar-a-Lago Club to conceal information from the FBI and grand jury,” the superseding indictment, filed Thursday, alleges.
While much of the new indictment is identical to the first version, there were some notable differences — including the identification of a new co-defendant and details about how Trump, his aide and “body man” Waltine Nauta, and a Mar-a-Lago property manager allegedly tried to get that security footage erased.
New counts against the former president
The superseding indictment also adds a new charge against Trump with one additional count of unlawful retention of National Defense Information, the government said in a filing. The new indictment specifically adds the classified document that Trump described as a senior military official’s “plan of attack” to a writer, publisher, and two staff members during a July 2021 meeting at his office at the Bedminster Club, in New Jersey.
Prosecutors have obtained audio of the conversation where Trump described the document as “highly confidential,” a statement that was apparently met with laughter.
“Secret. This is secret information,” Trump said, according to the indictment. “Look, look at this.”
Trump noted the classified nature of the document in an exchange with an unnamed staffer:
TRUMP: I was just thinking, because we were talking about it. And you know, he said, “he wanted to attack [Country A], and what …”
STAFFER: You did.
TRUMP: This was done by the military and given to me. Uh, I think we can probably, right?
STAFFER: I don’t know, we’ll, we’ll have to see. Yeah, we’ll have to try to—
TRUMP: Declassify it.
STAFFER: —figure out a— yeah.
TRUMP: See as president I could have declassified it.
STAFFER: Yeah. [Laughter]
TRUMP: Now I can’t, you know, but this is still a secret.
STAFFER: Yeah. [Laughter] Now we have a problem.
TRUMP: Isn’t that interesting?
None of the people to whom Trump showed the document had the necessary security clearance or need to know about the classified information about a plan of attack on the unnamed country, the indictment says.
“The document that Trump possessed and showed on July 21, 2021, is charged as Count 32 in this Superseding Indictment,” the filing adds.
Trump and Nauta are also additionally charged with two more obstruction counts “based on allegations that the defendants attempted to delete surveillance video footage at The Mar-a-Lago Club in the summer of 2022,” the document says.
A new defendant
The superseding indictment names Carlos De Oliveira as a new defendant in the case. According to prosecutors, De Oliveira is a valet-turned-property manager at Mar-a-Lago. In the previous indictment, he had been referred to as “an employee of The Mar-a-Lago Club.”
He has now been added to a conspiracy to obstruct justice count for allegedly trying to help Trump “keep classified documents he had taken with him from the White House and to hide and conceal them from a federal grand jury.”
Prosecutors have identified him as the person who helped Nauta move some 30 boxes from Trump’s residence to a storage room on June 2, 2022.
“One June 2, 2022, the day that Trump Attorney 1 was scheduled to review Trump’s boxes in the Storage Room, Trump spoke with Nauta on the phone at 9:29 a.m. for approximately 24 seconds,” the new indictment says. “Later that day, between 12:33 p.m. and 12:52 p.m., Nauta and De Oliveira moved approximately 30 boxes from Trump’s residence to the storage room.”
The government alleges that between May 23, 2022, and June 2, 2022, before a Trump attorney could review the boxes in the storage room, Nauta — acting under Trump’s direction — moved around 64 boxes from the storage room to Trump’s residence. Nauta and De Oliveira, however, are seen on surveillance footage moving only around half of that amount of boxes to the storage room, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors had previously alleged that on the following day, Nauta and “others” had “loaded several of Trump’s boxes along with other items on aircraft that flew Trump and his family north for the summer.” The superseding indictment identifies De Oliveira as one of those “others.”
A (would-be) clandestine trip to Florida
Agents had noticed the presence of surveillance cameras near the storage room when they were at Mar-a-Lago on June 3, 2022, to collect classified documents. Weeks later, on June 22, the DOJ had emailed an attorney for Trump sharing a draft grand jury subpoena for “certain security camera footage from the Mar-a-Lago Club, including footage from cameras ‘on ground floor (basement)’ where the Storage Room was located.”
According to prosecutors, Trump jumped into action almost immediately.
“On June 23, 2022, at 8:45 p.m., Trump called De Oliveira and they spoke for approximately 24 minutes,” the superseding indictment says. The grand jury subpoena for surveillance footage from Jan. 10, 2022, was issued the next day.
After Trump was told of the subpoena, Nauta apparently started making last-minute travel plans.
“That same day, June 24, 2022, at 1:25 p.m., Trump Attorney 1 spoke with Trump by phone regarding the subpoena for security camera footage,” the superseding indictment says. “At 3:44 p.m., Nauta received a text message from a co-worker, Trump Employee 3, indicating that Trump wanted to see Nauta. Less than two hours later, Nauta — who was scheduled to travel with Trump to Illinois the next day — changed his travel schedule and began to make arrangements to go to Palm Beach, Florida, instead.”
According to the government, Nauta “provided inconsistent explanations to colleagues for his sudden travel to Florida.”
On the evening of June 24, at 7:14 p.m., he “texted one person that he would not be traveling with Trump the next day because he had a family emergency and used ‘shushing emojis,”” the new indictment says.
A second text that night at least somewhat aligned with that stated reason for traveling, according to prosecutors.
“[A]t 9:48 p.m. that night, he texted a Secret Service agent that he had to check on a family member in Florida,” the indictment notes.
However, by the time he got to the Sunshine State, his story appears to have changed completely.
“[A]fter he arrived in Florida on June 25, he texted the same Secret Service agent that he was in Florida working,” the indictment says.
Prosecutors say that Nauta was trying to keep his entire trip off the radar; De Oliveira had told a valet at Mar-a-Lago, identified in the indictment as Trump Employee 5, that Nauta was coming down.
“De Oliveira asked Trump Employee 5 not to tell anyone that Nauta was coming down because Nauta wanted the trip to remain secret,” the revised indictment said. De Oliveira also told that employee that Nauta had wanted De Oliveira to talk to the IT director to see how long the camera footage was stored.
Prosecutors also noted that while he was making his travel plans to go to Florida, Nauta was texting De Oliveira to find out if he was working. De Oliveira responded that he had “just left,” at which point Nauta called De Oliveira, and “they spoke for approximately two minutes.”
Nauta also reached out to a Trump employee, identified in the indictment as Trump Employee 4, who worked as the Director of Information Technology (“IT”) at Mar-a-Lago. Subsequent texts between this employee and Nauta indicate that they were both aware that Nauta was coming to Florida and that they would make themselves available to meet with them, as he had requested.
A walk through tunnels and bushes
Once in Florida, at around 9:49 a.m. on June 27, 2022, Nauta walked with De Oliveira and Trump Employee 4 through a basement tunnel, after which De Oliveira took the employee to a small room known as an “audio closet” near one of the resort’s ballrooms.
“Once inside the audio closet, De Oliveira and Trump Employee 4 had the following exchange,” the indictment says.
That exchange, according to the indictment:
a. De Oliveira told Trump Employee 4 that their conversation should remain between the two of them.
b. De Oliveira asked Trump Employee 4 how many days the server retained footage. Trump Employee 4 responded that he believed it was approximately 45 days.
c. De Oliveira told Trump Employee 4 that “the boss” wanted the server deleted. Trump Employee 4 responded that he would not know how to do that, and that he did not believe he would have the rights to do that. Trump Employee 4 told De Oliveira that De Oliveira would have to reach out to another employee who was a supervisor of security for Trump’s business organization. De Oliveira then insisted to Trump Employee 4 that “the boss” wanted the server deleted and asked, “what are we going to do?”
Less than a half-hour later, De Oliveira texted Nauta, asking if he was working that day and then calling him at 10:15 a.m. for a phone call that lasted around one minute, prosecutors say.
“On my way to you,” Nauta texted De Oliveira a few hours later, at 1:06 p.m. The pair would meet up within the hour, although the property manager appears to have taken an unusual path to see his future co-defendant.
“Between 1:31 p.m. and 1:50 p.m., De Oliveira walked through the bushes on the northern edge of the Mar-a-Lago Club property to meet with Nauta on the adjacent property; then walked back to the IT office that he had visited that morning; and then walked again through the bushes on the northern edge of the Mar-a-Lago Club property to meet with Nauta on the adjacent property.”
Later that afternoon, at 3:55 p.m., “Trump called De Oliveira and they spoke for approximately three and a half minutes,” the indictment says.
Less than two months later, on Aug. 26, 2022, Nauta called Trump Employee 5, apparently concerned about De Oliveira’s loyalty.
“Someone just wants to make sure Carlos is good,” Nauta allegedly said — or words to that effect — according to prosecutors.
“In response, Trump Employee 5 told Nauta that De Oliveira was loyal and that De Oliveira would not do anything to affect his relationship with Trump,” the indictment says. “That same day, at Nauta’s request, Trump Employee 5 confirmed in a Signal chat group with Nauta and [a] PAC Representative that De Oliveira was loyal.”
The employee’s reassurances apparently worked.
“That same day, Trump called De Oliveira and told De Oliveira that Trump would get De Oliveira an attorney,” the indictment says.
De Oliveira’s first court appearance is scheduled for Monday. As of the time of publication of this story, the federal docket did not have any attorney information.
Read the superseding indictment, below.
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‘Shushing emojis’ in new Trump Mar-a-Lago indictment: Feds
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