Trump, aide plead not guilty to new classified documents charges

 August 11, 2023

President Trump pled not guilty Thursday to new charges in Jack Smith's classified documents probe.

A personal aide accused of participating in Trump's "conspiracy" to hide the documents, Walter Nauta, also pled not guilty.

Trump and Nauta had previously pled not guilty to the original charges when they were brought in June.

Trump pleads not guilty

Trump is accused of unlawfully withholding classified documents from the government and obstructing efforts to retrieve them.

The heart of the "conspiracy" claim is that Trump and Nauta moved boxes of records in order to hide them from a Trump attorney and federal investigators.

New charges were added in a superseding indictment last month that added a third defendant, Mar-A-Lago property manager Carlos De Oliviera. The new indictment accuses Trump, Nauta, and De Oliviera of conspiring to delete surveillance video, although there is no indication the video was in fact deleted.

The superseding indictment also charged Trump for the first time for his possession of a military "plan of attack" that he allegedly showcased to people at his New Jersey golf club. Trump returned the document in January of 2022, months before the federal investigation into the documents opened.

Nauta, a former White House valet, appeared at an arraignment Thursday in Florida, while Trump sent a lawyer on his behalf. De Oliviera is expected to be arraigned next week.

Smith rebuked by judge

Trump is facing 40 counts in the classified documents case, with the core allegation falling under the century-old Espionage Act - a statute that has been used to put traitors and spies to death.

Judge Aileen Cannon, who is overseeing the documents trial, rebuked Smith this week, questioning the legality of an out-of-district grand jury that he is using to keep investigating the case.

It's not the only creative leap Smith has taken in his pursuit of Trump, who was charged last week with "lying" about the 2020 election and conspiring to "overturn" the outcome in a separate case brought by Smith.

Smith announced Thursday that he is pushing for a January trial date in the 2020 election case, which will be tried in overwhelmingly pro-Biden Washington D.C. The documents case is set to be tried in May.

Trump has accused "deranged Jack Smith" of interfering in the 2024 election on behalf of Trump's rival Joe Biden.

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Thomas Jefferson
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