Trump Faces Major New Charges in Documents Case
"The office of the special counsel accused the former president of seeking to delete security camera footage at Mar-a-Lago. A maintenance worker, Carlos De Oliveria, was also named as a new defendant.
Federal prosecutors on Thursday added major accusations to an indictment charging former President Donald J. Trump with mishandling classified documents after he left office, saying he told a maintenance worker at Mar-a-Lago that he wanted security camera footage there to be deleted.
The new accusations were revealed in a superseding indictment that named the maintenance worker, Carlos De Oliveria, as a new defendant in the case.
The new indictment also added three serious charges against Mr. Trump — attempting to “alter, destroy, mutilate, or conceal evidence”; inducing someone else to do so; and a new count, the 32nd, under the Espionage Act stemming from a classified national security document he showed to visitors at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J.
Prosecutors in the office of the special counsel, Jack Smith, had been investigating Mr. De Oliveira for months, concerned by his communications with an information technology expert at Mar-a-Lago, Yuscil Taveras, who oversaw the surveillance camera footage at the property.
The new indictment said that in late June of last year, Mr. De Oliveira went to see Mr. Taveras — who is identified only as Trump Employee 4 — and told him that “‘the boss’ wanted the server deleted,” referring to the computer server holding the security footage.
“What are we going to do?” the indictment quoted Mr. De Oliveira as saying, after Mr. Taveras objected and said he would not know how and did not think he had the right to do so.
The new indictment was released on the same day Mr. Trump’s lawyers met in Washington with prosecutors working for Mr. Smith to discuss a so-called target letter that Mr. Trump received this month suggesting that he might soon face a second indictment in a separate case related to his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
Mr. De Oliveira’s lawyer, John Irving, declined to comment.
A statement attributed to “the Trump campaign” with no person’s name attached called the new accusations a “desperate and flailing attempt” by President Biden’s Justice Department.
The original indictment against Mr. Trump was filed last month in Florida and accused him of illegally holding on to 31 individual classified documents containing national defense information. That indictment also charged with Mr. Trump and Walt Nauta, one of his personal aides, with a conspiracy to obstruct the government’s repeated attempts to reclaim the classified material.
Prosecutors accused Mr. Nauta of repeatedly moving boxes in and out of a storage room at Mar-a-Lago in an effort to hide them from investigators. Many of these movements were caught on the surveillance camera footage.
The new charges, which accused Mr. De Oliveira of being part of that conspiracy, lay out in intricate detail efforts by Mr. Nauta to speak with Mr. De Oliveira about the security camera footage and how long the footage was stored after the government sought to obtain it under a subpoena.
The indictment contains an additional charge related to a classified document that Mr. Trump showed two people helping his former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows write a book.
Maggie Haberman is a senior political correspondent and the author of “Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America.” She was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for reporting on President Trump’s advisers and their connections to Russia. More about Maggie Haberman