Federal prosecutors added new charges to Donald Trump’s indictment over his alleged mishandling of classified documents in his Florida residence on Thursday, now saying that the former president ordered an employee to delete security camera footage in order to obstruct prosecutors’ investigation.
The new charges, added to the 37 others Trump faces in the documents case, accuse the former president of attempting to alter, destroy, mutilate or conceal an object and of ordering someone else to do so. They also include another felony charge under the Espionage Act related to Trump showing visitors at his New Jersey golf club a classified national security document.
In reaction to the charges on Thursday, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) wrote that the alleged deletion of security footage is deeply suspicious and that it strongly suggests that Trump is guilty of the charges laid against him.
“I am sure having an employee delete security camera footage to conceal a crime is an admission of guilt, otherwise you wouldn’t have a reason for cover up,” Omar said.
The new indictment names Mar-a-Lago’s property manager, Carlos De Oliveira, as a new defendant in the case, as well as Trump aide Waltine Nauta, who has been previously named in the case. According to prosecutors, just days after a grand jury voted to subpoena Mar-a-Lago security footage on June 27, 2022, De Oliveira met with an unnamed employee in an audio closet and told them to delete the footage demanded by the jury.
At the time, De Oliveira allegedly repeatedly insisted to the employee “that ‘the boss’ wanted the server deleted,” the indictment says. The employee said that they would have to talk to a supervisor about deleting the footage; it’s unclear if it was ever deleted, though previous evidence presented by the prosecutors seems to indicate it was not.
After the covert meeting, prosecutors say, De Oliveira texted, talked on the phone, and met in person with Nauta just outside of Mar-a-Lago’s property line. Later in the day, Trump called De Oliveira.
Political writers have observed that both the timing of the alleged order and the way it played out add to an already damning slate of evidence against Trump in the Florida case. A former White House lawyer who represented Trump under the Mueller probe, Ty Cobb, told CNN that the evidence against Trump is “overwhelming” in light of the new charges.
“I think this original indictment was engineered to last a thousand years and now this superseding indictment will last an antiquity,” Cobb said. “This is such a tight case, the evidence is so overwhelming.”
Surveillance footage has already played a large role in the case so far. According to documents from the FBI’s search warrant application, security footage was crucial to helping build the case against Trump and determining that there were more documents being held in Mar-a-Lago than was previously known. Previous reports have found that security footage shows Nauta moving boxes of documents in order to help Trump hide the documents, which Nauta later lied to federal officials about, prosecutors say.
The new charges came on the same day that Trump lawyers met with members of special counsel Jack Smith’s team and were told to soon expect an indictment over Trump’s role in the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, sources said.
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