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Special counsel expands Mar-a-Lago documents case as Trump faces new charges

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Former President Donald Trump has been hit with additional charges by prosecutors from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office. The charges are related to documents with classified markings found at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. According to court papers filed in federal court on Thursday evening, the superseding indictment unveiled by the Justice Department includes multiple new counts against Trump.

The new charges against Trump include allegations of altering, destroying, mutilating, or concealing an object, corruptly altering, destroying, mutilating or concealing a document, record, or other object, and an additional count of willful retention of national defense information. Of these new obstruction counts, two stem from alleged efforts to have the director of information technology at Mar-a-Lago delete security camera footage that was being sought by a federal grand jury.

Previously, Trump faced 37 felony counts, including 31 counts of willful retention of classified documents and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice. Throughout the process, Trump has maintained his innocence, denouncing the prosecution as a politically motivated “witch hunt” against him. Speaking to Breitbart on Thursday, Trump referred to the charges as “harassment” and “election interference.”

Walt Nauta, a former aide to the president, is also facing six counts in connection with the case and has pleaded not guilty. Moreover, a new defendant has been named in the indictment—Carlos De Oliveira, the Mar-a-Lago property manager and former valet. De Oliveira faces multiple charges, including altering, destroying, and concealing objects, corruptly altering documents, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and making false statements during an interview with federal investigators.

According to the superseding indictment, De Oliveira, along with Trump and Nauta, is alleged to have instructed an unnamed employee to delete Mar-a-Lago security camera footage to prevent it from being handed over to the federal grand jury. The Justice Department had issued a subpoena requiring the production of surveillance records, videos, and images on June 24, 2022.

The 32nd count of willful retention of national defense information in the new indictment is connected to a document that Trump showed to four individuals during a meeting at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, on July 21, 2021. The document, marked TOP SECRET/NOFORN, was described as a “presentation concerning military activity in a foreign country.” The indictment alleges that Trump had the document until mid-January 2022 and discussed it during a recorded interview with a writer and publisher, neither of whom had security clearance.

The charges against Trump related to his handling of sensitive government records are the first of their kind brought by the Justice Department against a former president. The trial is set to take place at the courthouse in Fort Pierce, Florida, with a scheduled date of May 2024. Meanwhile, Trump and his legal team are also awaiting the possibility of a separate indictment related to the special counsel’s investigation into attempts to alter the 2020 presidential election and disrupt the peaceful transfer of power.

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