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Trump charged with additional counts in Mar-a-Lago documents case

Chip Somodevilla
Getty Images

Updated July 27, 2023 at 6:45 PM ET

A grand jury in the Southern District of Florida has charged former President Donald Trump with a new count of willful retention of National Defense Information in the case related to his handling of classified documents. The new charge stems from a top-secret presentation Trump waved at aides at his Bedminster, N.J., resort.

A new defendant was also added to the indictment against Trump and his aide Walt Nauta. Carlos de Oliveira, 56, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., was added to the obstruction conspiracy charged in the original indictment.

The superseding indictment charges Trump, De Oliveira and Nauta with two new obstruction counts based on allegations that they instructed an unnamed, fourth worker to delete surveillance video footage at Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence last summer "to prevent the footage from being provided to a federal grand jury."

The indictment charged De Oliveira with false statements and representations made in a interview with the FBI on Jan. 13, 2023. He is expected to appear at a federal courthouse in Miami on July 31. His lawyer John Irving declined comment.

Trump faces more than three dozen counts, including more than 30 violations of the Espionage Act, over allegations of withholding documents related to national security. He's also charged, along with Nauta, with making false statements and conspiring to obstruct justice. The trial is set for May 20, 2024. That schedule puts the trial at the tail end of the Republican presidential primary process. Trump is currently the front-runner for the GOP nomination and already may have become the nominee by that time.

"This is nothing more than a continued desperate and flailing attempt by the Biden Crime Family and their Department of Justice to harass President Trump and those around him," the Trump campaign said in a written statement following the new charges.

The White House has consistently denied any involvement or coordination in the special counsel probes of Trump. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Jack Smith last winter to emphasize the independence of the probe.

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Carrie Johnson is a justice correspondent for the Washington Desk.