Former President Donald Trump asked an aide to delete Mar-a-Lago surveillance footage in a bid to wipe evidence in the classified documents investigation, prosecutors charge in a dramatic superseding indictment revealed Thursday.
Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team of prosecutors has piled additional charges into the 32-count indictment the former president was already facing – and another Trump aide has now been charged with conspiracy in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case.
The new counts place the former president in still more legal jeopardy as he is already bracing for potential charges in another key case while fighting a multi-front legal war.
Among the charges is that the former president allegedly told aides to ‘wipe’ security footage from his Florida club’s server as a way to foil investigators probing the removal of classified documents from the White House.
Carlos De Oliveira, Mar-a-Lago’s head of maintenance, has been named as the third defendant alongside the former president and his valet Walt Nauta.
The news came on a day former President Donald Trump’s lawyers met with special counsel Jack Smith’s prosecutors
Both developments present additional legal jeopardy for the former president, who spent part of Thursday averring that his lawyers had blasted the case against him in still another case, related to his election overturn effort.
Prosecutors are piling more charges on Trump in the new indictment.
They are additional charges related to obstruction of justice and willful retention of national defense information.
Smith’s team added them to the existing indictment Thursday evening.
Trump was hit with a 37-count indictment in June.
According to one passage in the superseding indictment filed Thursday, De Oliveira ‘told Trump Employee 4 that their conversation should remain between the two of them.’
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.’
It continued: ‘De Oliveira told Trump Employee 4 that “the boss” wanted the server deleted.’
That language, if substantiated, appears to put Trump at the heart of the alleged conspiracy to cover up information.
The indictment states that De Oliveira stated he didn’t know how to wipe the server or that he would have a right to.
De Oliveira is believed to have helped Nauta move boxes of sensitive files around the private club after the Department of Justice subpoenaed Trump.
Nauta continues to work for Trump, and is facing charges of conspiring to withhold classified information from the government. He pleaded not guilty in federal court in Miami earlier this month.
The specific charges against DecOliveira were not immediately clear.
The news came on a day former President Donald Trump’s lawyers met with special counsel Jack Smith’s prosecutors to discuss the January 6 case, according to Trump.
The developments in the Mar-a-Lago case came on a day when a separate January 6 investigation has been advancing
Walt Nauta, a valet to former President Donald Trump, has already been charged with conspiracy
Trump has long called all the probes of him part of a ‘witch hunt,’ and has repeatedly trained his fire on the Biden family, who he calls ‘corrupt.’ He told Fox News Thursday evening the new moves amount to election interference.
Nauta had been considered a witness that prosecutors might try to ‘flip’ to gain testimony against Trump, and he met with investigators during their probe. But instead the former White House valet has remained in Trump’s employ, and prosecutors charged the former valet.
Now the inclusion of De Oliveira presents an additional candidate for pressure, although as in the case of Nauta, prosecutors may have decided they can make their case without him.
The stunning news came on a day when eyes have been on the January 6 case, where Trump has received a target letter from prosecutors related to that case, in Washington, D.C.
The indictment once again focuses in on a July 2021 meting Trump had with a writer and publisher identified to be working on former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ book.
It quotes from an interview where Trump bragged about a ‘highly confidential’ document, using it to try to undermine former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley.
‘He said that I wanted to attack a country,’ Trump said, brandishing the document.
The tape already potentially undermined a Trump defense, but including his comment that, ‘See as president I could have declassified it,’ but ‘now I can’t.’
According to the new indictment, ‘The document that TRUMP possessed and showed on July 21, 2021, is charged as Count 32 in this Superseding indictment.’
Other information in the indictment connects Trump still more closely to the boxes of material around his club – at a time when the National Archives was trying to claw back material.
In December 2021, an employee wrote that ‘box answer will be wrenched out of him today, promise!,’ followed by, ’12 is his number.’
An employee texted about Trump, ‘He’s tracking the boxes, more to follow today on whether he wants to go through more today or tomorrow.’ Another says he asked for ‘new covers for the boxes, for Monday m.’ Morning.’
It added, ‘*can we get new box covers before giving these to them on Monday? They have too much writing on them..I marked too much.’
That all preceded Trump finally providing 15 boxes to the Archives in January 2022.
The new indictment describes Nauta’s moves to change travel plans after a meeting with Trump, the same day DOJ sent a grand jury subpoena for security footage.
Nauta provided ‘inconsistent explanations’ to colleagues, and said he had a family emergency but also used ‘shushing’ emojis.
He reunited with De Oliveria and visited a security guard booth where surveillance video is held, walking ‘with a flashlight through the tunnel where the Storage Room was located, and observed and pointed out surveillance cameras.’
De Oliveira then told ‘Trump Employee 4’ in a conversation that should ‘remain between the two of them’ about the boss wanting to delete the server.
Another part of the indictment describes the period after the FBI discovered classified documents at MAL following the execution of a search warrant.
It says Nauta called Employee 5 to say words to the effect that ‘someone just wants to make sure Carlos is good,’ in reference to De Oliveira.
The employee said De Oliveira was ‘loyal’ and wouldn’t do anything to affect his relationship with Trump.
He then told a PAC representative in a signal chat the same thing. Trump that same day called Ed Oliveira and told him that ‘TRUMP would get DE OLIVEIRIA an attorney,’ it said.
The new indictment names the trio – Trump, De Oliveria and Nauta, and says they ‘did knowingly combine, conspire, confederate, and agree’ to ‘engage in misleading conduct’ to ‘corruptly’ persuade another person to withhold information.
Other counts relate just to Trump and Nauta.
One new count, Count 40, charges the trio with ‘altering, destroying, mutilating, or concealing an object.’ That relates to the trio requesting n employee to ‘delete security camera footage at the Mar-a-Lago Club to prevent the footage from being provided to a federal grand jury.’
It says De Oliveira made false statements during a January 2023 interview in Palm Beach.
He said he ‘never saw nothing’ when boxes were delivered to Mar-a-Lago.
But according to the feds, he knew because he ‘had personally observed and helped move TRUMP’s boxes when they arrived at The Mar-a-Lago Club in January 2021.’