Trump assistant and 'co-conspirator' Walt Nauta pleaded not guilty in delayed arraignment in documents case

 July 7, 2023

When former President Donald Trump was criminally indicted in June by Special Counsel Jack Smith, so too was Trump's personal assistant and valet Walt Nauta as a co-conspirator.

Nauta appeared in federal court in Miami, Florida on Thursday for an arraignment hearing and pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges pressed against him, according to ABC News.

He stands accused of helping Trump by moving boxes containing classified documents around Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in order to hide them from attorneys and officials and faces six criminal counts that include obstruction of justice and making false statements.

Finally arraigned after two prior delays

The Associated Press reported that Nauta's arraignment hearing on Thursday had been twice delayed from prior scheduled dates.

He had actually been beside former President Trump during the June 13 hearing in which his boss pleaded not guilty to the 37 criminal counts against him, but was not arraigned at that time due to the fact that he didn't have a Florida-based attorney retained to represent him at that time.

Nauta's arraignment had been rescheduled for last week but was delayed a second time when, through no fault of his own, the flight that he was supposed to take from New Jersey to Florida for that scheduled hearing was canceled at the last moment.

Now, however, Nauta was able to make the trip down to Florida for the Thursday hearing and had beside him a newly-hired Florida-based defense attorney, Sasha Dadan, along with his Washington D.C.-based attorney, Stanley Woodward.

Faces potential of 20 years in prison on six criminal charges

According to The Washington Post, Nauta, 40, appeared to say nothing during the arraignment hearing aside from "Yes, your honor," when asked by U.S. Magistrate Judge Edwin Torres if he had reviewed and understood the federal charges against him.

Per the indictment, Nauta is charged as a co-conspirator alongside former President Trump on five charges that include conspiracy to obstruct justice, concealing a document, and scheming to conceal a material fact in a federal investigation.

He is also charged separately with a single count of making a false statement for allegedly lying to the FBI, and faces up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted on the most serious of those charges.

Personal assistant followed Trump to Florida after White House job ended

ABC News noted Nauta, who is originally from Guam, enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 2001 and rose to the rank of Senior Chief Culinary Specialist while serving in the White House during the Trump administration.

He was at some point also elevated to the position of Trump's personal valet, and when Trump left office in 2021, Nauta also left the Navy and moved down to South Florida to continue working for the former president as an executive assistant and personal aide.

It was in that role, according to prosecutors and subpoenaed surveillance camera footage, that Nauta, at Trump's direction, moved a number of boxes allegedly containing classified documents out of a storage room and then later back into that storage room in an effort to keep them hidden from Trump's lawyers and federal investigators, per the Post.

The AP noted that Nauta is also alleged to have lied to the FBI by initially claiming that he was unaware of the boxes at Mar-a-Lago and had nothing to do with them being moved around the property.

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