Trump is accused of trying to delete surveillance video in classified documents case

An aerial view of an expansive estate next to the ocean
Former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, a focus of the federal case in Florida over classified documents.
(Steve Helber / Associated Press)

Former President Trump faces additional charges in the federal case related to his handling of classified documents, with a superseding indictment filed Thursday in a Florida federal court alleging that he tried to destroy surveillance video at his Mar-a-Lago estate last year.

Trump, his personal aide and co-defendant Walt Nauta, and a new defendant, Mar-a-Lago employee Carlos de Oliveira, 56, are charged with two new counts of obstruction based on allegations that they attempted to delete surveillance video at Mar-a-Lago in late June 2022 after receiving a subpoena ordering that the video be turned over to special counsel Jack Smith’s investigators.

The 60-page indictment outlines a 24-minute phone call between Trump and De Oliveira on June 23, 2022, the day after the former president learned the subpoena was forthcoming. It also details a clandestine trip Nauta is accused of taking to Mar-a-Lago, and pressure De Oliveira allegedly placed on an unnamed IT employee by indicating that “the boss” wanted the server containing the security video to be wiped clean.


Nauta canceled plans to travel with Trump to Illinois and instead surreptitiously returned to Mar-a-Lago on June 25, 2022, according to the indictment, which references comments Nauta and De Oliveira allegedly made to others about keeping the trip secret and different stories they reportedly told about the purpose of the trip.

After the IT employee declined to delete the footage, the indictment states, Nauta and De Oliveira met twice at a property adjacent to the Mar-a-Lago club, which De Oliveira accessed by climbing through the bushes.

The indictment also recounts August 2022 conversations between Nauta and another unidentified Trump employee about whether De Oliveira was “loyal,” and a phone call from Trump to De Oliveira in which the ex-president told the Mar-a-Lago employee that he’d get him an attorney.

In a statement, Trump called the superseding indictment “nothing more than a continued desperate and flailing attempt” to “harass” him.

Trump, who is again seeking the Republican presidential nomination, pleaded not guilty in June to 37 felony charges, including more than 30 violations of the Espionage Act, in connection with his handling of classified documents and alleged attempts to prevent the government from recovering them. Nauta has also pleaded not guilty on charges of making false statements and conspiring to obstruct justice.

The original indictment in the case charged that Trump had unlawfully taken classified records when his presidency ended in January 2021, then obstructed the government’s efforts to retrieve hundreds of the secret documents. The indictment states that Trump kept the records in unsecured areas of Mar-a-Lago, including in a bathroom, ballroom and storage room. The property is home to a private club that hosts thousands of people each year.


According to that indictment, top-secret and other classified records that the FBI recovered last August — after a subpoena and a search of the property — included details on U.S. and foreign nations’ nuclear and other defense and weapons capabilities; potential vulnerabilities of the U.S. and its allies to military attack; and plans for possible retaliation in response to such an attack.

Trump is accused in the original indictment of instructing Nauta to move 64 boxes out of a Mar-a-Lago storage room to Trump’s residence at the club so the former president could go through the contents before his lawyer Evan Corcoran reviewed them to comply with a subpoena for their return issued in May 2022. The indictment says Nauta returned only 30 boxes to the storage room for the lawyer to review.

According to the superseding indictment, Nauta and De Oliveira loaded some of the boxes onto a plane for Trump to take with him for the summer — just hours before FBI agents arrived at Mar-a-Lago on June 3, 2022, to collect classified documents identified by Trump’s attorney.

Trump was also charged Thursday with an additional count of willful retention of national defense information. The charge stems from a top-secret presentation outlining a potential attack on a foreign country, which the indictment says Trump shared on July 21, 2021, at his Bedminster, N.J., golf club during a conversation with two staff members and two people working with his former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Meadows’ autobiography.

Trump has denied the document’s existence and said he did not show it to anyone.

De Oliveira is also charged with making false statements and representations in a voluntary interview with the FBI on Jan. 13. According to the indictment, he claimed in the interview that he had no knowledge of the boxes that were brought to Florida when Trump left office. The indictment also says he helped move the boxes.