Trump Faces New Charges in Superseding Classified Documents Indictment

July 28, 2023

Former President Trump faces additional charges in a superseding indictment brought by special counsel Jack Smith in the investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents post-Presidency.

The Department of Justice unsealed the superseding indictment Thursday evening. Multiple counts against Trump include: altering, destroying, mutilating, or concealing an object; corruptly altering, destroying, mutilating or concealing a document, record or other object; and an additional charge of willful retention of national defense information.

The new charges pile on top of the 37 criminal counts to which Trump pleaded not guilty on June 13, including 31 initial  counts for willful retention of national defense secrets in violation of the Espionage Act, as well as one count each of making false statements, conspiracy to obstruct justice, withholding a document or record, corruptly concealing a document or record, concealing a document in a federal investigation, and a scheme to conceal. 

On July 6 Trump aide Walt Nauta pleaded not guilty to six criminal counts related to the classified documents probe. He was charged with seven criminal counts in the initial indictment. 

The superseding indictment also names a third defendant in the case: property manager at Trump’s Florida residence, Mar-a-Lago, Carlos De Oliveira.

Charges against De Oliveira include one count each of altering, destroying, mutilating, or concealing an object; corruptly altering, destroying, mutilating or concealing a document, record or other object; and making false statements and representations during a voluntary interview with federal investigators.

He has been ordered to appear in federal court in Miami on Monday morning.

The first two charges against Trump in the revised indictment are related to Mar-a-Lago surveillance footage that had been subpoenaed by the DOJ. According to the revised indictment, in June 2022 shortly after the government demanded the surveillance footage as part of its inquiry, Trump called De Oliveira and they spoke for 24 minutes.

The document goes on to say that two days later Nauta and De Oliveira “went to the security guard booth where surveillance video is displayed on monitors, walked with a flashlight through the tunnel where the storage room was located, and observed and pointed out surveillance cameras.”

A few days after that, a person named in the indictment as “Trump Employee 4″—now identified as Yuscil Taveras, who oversaw the property’s surveillance camera footage—spoke in a small room with De Oliveira at Mar-a-Lago called the “audio closet.” Amid their conversation, De Oliveira said, “‘the boss’ wanted the server deleted,” referring to the computer server holding the security footage, according to the indictment.

Taveras responded that he didn’t know how to and that he didn’t believe he had the “rights” to delete it. 

It was two months later, on August 8, that FBI agents conducted a search warranted raid on Mar-a-Lago and seized at least 100 classified documents.

Trump denied the new charges Friday in an interview with conservative radio host John Fredericks. The former President asserted that he believed he wasn’t required to hand over security tapes from his Mar-a-Lago resort, but he did so anyway.

“These were security tapes. We handed them over to them….I’m not even sure what they’re saying,” Trump said.

The new willful  charge retention of national defense information against Trump in the superseding indictment stems from a a 2021 meeting at his residence in Bedminster, New Jersey. A leaked audio recording of that meeting reveals Trump admitting that he could no longer classify a document he’s showing to several people because he’s no longer President. 

Trump tells the assembled group at the meeting that he had a “plan of attack” on Iran from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley. Trump described the document as “highly confidential” and “secret information,” noting that “as President I could have declassified it….Now I can’t, you know, but this is still a secret.”

The superseding indictment outlines specific dates during which Trump was in possession of the document: from January 20, 2021, the day he left office, through January 17, 2022 when Trump turned over 15 boxes of Presidential material to the National Archives. 

The specificity of the dates indicates that prosecutors have the document in their possession. The indictment describes it as a “presentation concerning military activity in a foreign country,” and that it was marked top secret.

While legal counsel for Nauta and De Oliveira have declined to comment on the superseding indictment to CBS News, a spokesperson for Trump’s 2024 campaign, Steve Cheung, dismissed the new criminal counts as part of an effort to sabotage the former President’s reelection efforts, and that they’re “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.”

You can read the superseding indictment here.

Read more exclusive news from Political IQ.

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