Federal prosecutors announce additional charges and new co-defendant in Trump classified documents case News
The White House // Public domain
Federal prosecutors announce additional charges and new co-defendant in Trump classified documents case

Federal prosecutors announced additional charges and a new co-defendant in the classified documents case against former US President Donald Trump on Thursday. The new charges against Trump include two new obstruction charges and an additional wrongful retention of documents charge. Prosecutors have also now charged Trump property manager Carlos De Oliveira with multiple obstruction charges as well as a false statements charge.

The new charges are contained in a superseding indictment, which replaces Special Counsel Jack Smith’s previous 37-count criminal indictment of Trump and former Trump aide Waltine Nauta. Thursday’s superseding indictment includes the same charges that Trump and Nauta were facing but adds additional criminal charges against Trump and new charges against De Oliveria.

Trump now faces an additional three criminal charges. The first deals with another instance of “unlawful retention of National Defense Information.” The new charge cites to a July 2021 incident where Trump showed a writer and publisher—who lacked proper security clearances—a “Senior Military Official’s” plan of attack for a foreign country. The charge joins the 31 other previously indicted instances wherein prosecutors allege Trump wrongfully retained classified government documents.

The other two new charges against Trump deal with obstruction. Specifically, Trump is now charged with altering, destroying, mutilating, or concealing an object for ordering an employee to delete security camera footage from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, Florida residence—where the classified documents were stored—”to prevent the footage from being provided to a federal grand jury.” He also faces another charge for corruptly altering, destroying, mutilating or concealing a document, record, or other object—which is a separate offense—over the same incident.

Thursday’s superseding indictment also included four charges against De Oliveira, including a conspiracy charge, the same two new obstruction offenses Trump is charged with, and a false statements charge. Federal prosecutors assisting Smith with the case against Trump had apparently examined De Oliveira during the grand jury investigation.

Prosecutors allege that De Oliveira helped Nauta move boxes of classified documents from a Mar-a-Lago storage room into Trump’s personal residence shortly before Trump’s lawyers were set to review and turn over the documents to federal prosecutors. Prosecutors also claim that it was De Oliveira who helped load boxes of classified documents onto Trump’s personal plane to be transported with the former president to his Bedminster, New Jersey property. De Oliveira is also charged with attempting to delete security camera footage from Mar-a-Lago which captured him and Nauta moving the aforementioned boxes. According to prosecutors, De Oliveira lied to federal investigators about all of this, which resulted in the false statements charge.

De Oliveira is expected to appear before a Miami, Florida federal magistrate judge on Monday to enter his plea on the new charges. Trump and Nauta have already entered pleas of not guilty on their criminal charges. As of the time of this report, De Oliveira has not issued any statement in response to the charges.

Because of the new charges and co-defendant in the superseding indictment, it is expected that the trial will be further delayed. This is despite Smith’s request that the court not disturb a previous scheduling order which set the trial date for May 20, 2024.