Former President Donald Trump has been charged with making false statements, concealing documents, and conspiring to obstruct justice, a newly unsealed indictment shows. Trump aide Waltine Nauta has also been charged.
Trump announced he’d been indicted on June 8. He says he is innocent. A lawyer representing Nauta declined to comment.
Trump violated federal law by causing “scores of boxes, many of which contained classified documents, to be transported” to his Mar-a-Lago resort after Joe Biden became president on Jan. 20, 2021, according to the indictment, which was approved by a grand jury in Florida and signed by special counsel Jack Smith.
The resort was not an authorized location to hold the documents but Trump stored them there anyways in various places, including in a bathroom and his bedroom, the indictment states. Some were located in a ballroom at the resort, which is located in Palm Beach, Florida.
In May 2021, Trump took some of the boxes to another property, the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, authorities allege.
Trump is accused of showing the classified documents to other people on two separate occasions in 2021 at the golf club.
He showed what he described as a “plan of attack” to a writer, a publisher, and two staff members in July 2021, the indictment states. Trump said he could have declassified the plan while he was president but that he couldn’t since he was no longer in office. “This is secret information,” he was quoted as saying.
In August or September 2021, Trump allegedly showed a classified map to a representative from the Save America PAC.
Trump has said he declassified the documents before leaving office.
FBI agents opened an investigation into Trump retaining classified documents on March 30, 2022. Trump tried obstructing that investigation, including suggesting to one of his attorneys that the lawyer tell the FBI that Trump did not have classified documents and by directing Nauta to move boxes of documents to conceal them, according to the indictment.
“Well what if we, what happens if we just don’t respond at all or don’t play ball with them?” Trump was quoted as saying on May 23, 2022, by one of his attorneys.
Trump said he was firing attorneys John Rowley and Jim Trusty shortly before the indictment was unsealed.
Documents Not Recovered Until 2022
As a result of the alleged obstruction, hundreds of documents with classified markings were not recovered until 2022.
Fifteen boxes were handed over by Trump to the National Archives and Records Administration. Others were given by a Trump attorney to the FBI. Still others were seized when FBI agents served a search warrant on Mar-a-Lago.
Nauta was described as a U.S. Navy member who was a valet in the White House during the presidency before ascending to become Trump’s personal aide.
Nauta on Dec. 7, 2021, found several of the boxes fallen in a storage room, with papers having spilled out, according to the indictment. One of the documents was marked secret.
“I opened the door and found this…” he was quoted as saying in a text to a colleague, attaching photographs of the documents.
Nauta is accused of later telling the FBI that he did not know where the boxes had been stored. He actually moved boxes around Mar-a-Lago on multiple occasions, according to the indictment.
The most serious charge against both Trump and Nauta carries up to 20 years in prison.
Trump and Nauta are scheduled to make their initial appearances on June 13 at the Wilkie D. Ferguson Building federal courthouse in Miami.
Trump is scheduled to deliver speeches at the Georgia and North Carolina state GOP conventions on Saturday. Trump was president from January 2017 to January 2021. He is running for president in 2024.
Smith to Speak
Smith said in prepared remarks from Washington that people should read the indictment “to understand the scope and the gravity of the crimes charged.”
Smith, who was assigned by Attorney General Merrick Garland, a Biden appointee, to investigate Trump, said that laws protecting national defense information “are critical to safety and security to United States and they must be enforced.”
“Violations of those laws put our country at risk,” he said, adding later that, “We have one set of laws in this country and they apply to everyone.”
Multiple former officials, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have been found by authorities to have mishandled classified information but have not been charged. Biden was also found to have possessed classified records after leaving office, prior to his becoming president, but no charges have been filed against him to date.
“Biden moved his Boxes all over the place, including to Chinatown and up to his lawyer’s office in Boston. Why isn’t deranged Jack Smith looking at that?” Trump wrote on Truth Social on Friday.
Smith emphasized that Trump and Nauta are innocent until proven guilty and said he would seek a quick trial “consistent with the public interest and the rights of the accused.”
Smith did not take questions and was not joined by any Department of Justice officials.
Biden told reporters on Friday, after being asked if he’d spoken to Garland, “I have not spoken to him at all and I’m not going to speak with him.”
“And I have no comment on that,” he added.
Biden also said this week that he did not tell the Department of Justice to charge Trump.
Emel Akan and Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times