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Trump, Nauta plead not guilty to new classified docs charges but De Oliveira still not arraigned

Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

(FORT PIERCE, Fla.) — Former President Donald Trump and longtime aide Walt Nauta both pleaded not guilty Thursday to new charges brought by special counsel Jack Smith in a superseding indictment last month in his classified documents probe.

Mar-a-Lago club property manager Carlos De Oliveira, facing his first charges in the case, still could not be arraigned Thursday because arrangements for local counsel had not yet been finalized. That arraignment was rescheduled for Tuesday morning.

“We believe that we have that ironed out,” De Oliveira ‘s lawyer, John Irving, said.

Trump, who waived his right to appear in person, was represented by attorney Todd Blanche who entered a not guilty plea on Trump’s behalf. Attorney Stanley Woodward entered the not guilty plea for Nauta who, like De Oliveira, was present in the Florida courtroom.

Thursday’s charges added onto the prior indictment filed against Trump and Nauta in June.

Trump earlier pleaded not guilty in June to 37 criminal counts related to his handling of classified materials, after prosecutors said he repeatedly refused to return hundreds of documents containing classified information ranging from U.S. nuclear secrets to the nation’s defense capabilities, and took steps to thwart the government’s efforts to get the documents back.

Nauta, who was charged alongside Trump, also pleaded not guilty to related charges. Trump has denied all charges and denounced the probe as a political witch hunt.

Thursday’s arraignment will be the first time De Oliveira, the newest defendant in the classified documents case, enters a plea in the case. He is charged with four criminal counts, including making false statements, conspiring to obstruct justice, and concealing an object.

De Oliveira was unable to enter a plea during his initial appearance on July 31 because he had not yet retained local counsel. He was released on $100,000 personal surety bond and ordered to not communicate about the case with any fact witnesses identified by the government, a condition of release shared with Trump and Nauta.

Trump, Nauta, and De Oliveira are all facing new charges in the superseding indictment, including that they conspired to obstruct justice by attempting to delete surveillance footage at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in order “to conceal information from the FBI and grand jury,” according to the indictment.

Prosecutors allege that the three men engaged in a plot to destroy potential evidence, set in motion after the Trump Organization received a draft grand jury subpoena in June 2022 requesting Mar-a-Lago security footage.

Trump allegedly communicated with Nauta and De Oliveira, including a 24-minute phone call with De Oliveira, the day following the receipt of the subpoena, according to the indictment.

“Nauta and De Oliveira went to the security guard booth where the 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,” said the indictment about the defendants’ actions in the days after communicating with Trump.

On a separate occasion, De Oliveira allegedly told Mar-a-Lago’s director of information technology in a private meeting that “the boss” wanted the server holding the security footage deleted, according to the indictment.

“What are we going to do?” De Oliveira allegedly told the IT director after the employee questioned if he had the ability or right to delete the footage.

Prosecutors also allege that after the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8, Nauta called a Mar-a-Lago valet to “make sure Carlos is good.”

“In response, [the valet] told Nauta that De Oliveira was loyal and that De Oliveira would not do anything to affect his relationship with Trump,” the indictment said. Later that day, Trump allegedly called De Oliveira to communicate that he would get De Oliveira an attorney, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors have also charged De Oliveira with making false statements during a voluntary interview with the FBI, during which De Oliveira denied any knowledge or involvement in moving boxes of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.

De Oliveira’s attorney, John Irving, said following De Oliveira’s first court appearance that he was eager to begin receiving the government’s evidence in the case.

“The Justice Department has unfortunately decided to bring these charges against Mr. De Oliveira,” said Irving. “Now it’s time for them to put their money where their mouth is, so I’m looking forward to seeing what discovery is.”

Irving declined to comment if his client has been asked by the government to cooperate and testify against Trump.

“I’m not going to go there,” Irving said.

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