Former President Donald Trump took to Truth Social on Sunday to refute allegations that he had his team delete Mar-A-Lago security footage after the FBI took documents they said were classified in June 2022, calling the prosecution "deranged.
The allegations were part of a superseding indictment special counsel Jack Smith handed down last week, adding charges of willful retention of national defense information and obstruction to the existing 37 counts against him in the documents case.
Prosecutors said that Trump and aides asked a Mar-a-Lago employee to delete security footage from cameras there so that it could not be given to a grand jury.
Trump denied the allegations and accused the prosecution of "election interference" for what he considers yet another scurrilous set of charges.
“Mar-a-Lago security tapes were not deleted,” Trump wrote on TRUTH Social. “They were voluntarily handed over to the thugs, headed up by deranged Jack Smith. We did not even go to court to stop them from getting these tapes. I never told anybody to delete them. Prosecutorial fiction & misconduct! Election interference!”
The claim by prosecutors is that Carlos De Olivera told another Mar-A-Lago employee that "the boss" wanted a server deleted two months before the FBI raided the compound.
Olivera has also been charged with obstruction in the case, which now includes 40 total charges against Trump.
“What was the obstruction of justice? Because no tapes were deleted,” Trump attorney Alina Habba said. “He turned them over. He cooperated as he always does. But they would like the American public to believe in these bogus indictments.”
“When he has his turn in court, and when we get to file our papers, you will see that every single video, every single surveillance tape that was requested, was turned over,” she added. “If President Trump didn’t want something turned over, I assure you, that is something that could have been done. But he never would act like that. He is the most ethical American I know.”
The currently scheduled court date for this trial is May 2024, which goes to Trump's point about election interference.
Whether the charges are true or not, it's clear the prosecution wants to damage Trump politically, and hopes that the mere accusation would be enough to get him to leave the presidential race or for voters to abandon him.
Jack Smith has always hated Trump and clearly is determined to do everything he can--honestly or dishonestly--to bring him down.
In another follow-up post, Trump said the DOJ has admitted the tapes were not deleted but has not reported this to the press.
He also brought up President Joe Biden's classified documents and asked when he was going to be indicted for that and "at the same time receiving bribes from China."