Trump aide Walt Nauta acquitted in classified documents case

MIAMI – Waltin “Wald” Nauta, Donald Trump’s personal assistant, pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges that he conspired with his boss to hide classified documents from authorities at Mar-a-Lago, the former president’s Florida home and private club.

The filing of the lawsuit in Miami federal court was delayed because Nauta, 40, did not have the required local Florida attorney to represent him. Nauta’s plea was entered by his attorney, Stan Woodward, who was joined by his new local attorney, Sasha Dadan. Trump entered a not guilty plea last month.

The government accused Nauta of moving boxes of government supplies to Mar-a-Lago for the former president and helping to hide the documents from federal authorities who demanded their return.

Trump’s latest indictment marks the first federal criminal prosecution of a former president, following a month-long trial. (Video: Adriana Euro/The Washington Post, Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Nauta, U.S. Magistrate Judge Edwin G. During a brief hearing before Torres, one person was missing a week ago because his flight was delayed several times.

A White House loyalist to Trump who continued to work for the former president in Florida after he left office, Nauta and Trump were both indicted on five criminal charges, including conspiracy to obstruct justice, concealing a document and concealing a document. A key fact in a federal investigation.

Nauta was also charged with lying to the FBI, and Trump was charged with 31 counts of mishandling national security information. Nauta faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge against him.

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Donald Trump and Walt Nauta: Documents have always been linked as co-defendants in the case

It’s unclear when the trial of Trump and Nauta will begin. Judge Eileen M., a federal judge in Florida. Cannon has set a trial date for the case in August, but that is unlikely because of an expected pre-trial legal battle, including how confidential information will be handled in court. Special counsel Jack Smith has requested a December trial date, and Trump’s lawyers are expected to argue for a different schedule in court filings next week.

Under federal law, cases that use classified material as evidence require additional pretrial hearings to ensure that jurors and defense attorneys can see the evidence while protecting national secrets. Trump’s attorneys did not have the required security clearance, lawyers said in a filing last month.

Another hearing in the case is scheduled for next week, though Nauta’s attorneys have asked for the postponement due to unrelated scheduling conflicts.

Nauta’s hearing came a day after authorities unsealed additional portions of the search warrant affidavit used to obtain court approval to search Mar-a-Lago last summer. The search turned up more than 100 such documents and led to Trump’s indictment last month on charges of mishandling national security secrets.

A Trump spokesman said late Wednesday that the former president “continues to be in full compliance with the Presidential Records Act, which is the only law that applies to presidents and their records,” and accused the Justice Department of rejecting Trump’s cooperation.

The new version of the affidavit keeps many more trial details confidential. But it reveals more about what agents learned by the time they executed the Aug. 8 search, including details about how the security camera footage of Nauta named in the indictment was captured, but not the affidavit.moved boxes before and after being investigated by the FBI.

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The video showed Trump workers moving boxes of paper a day before the FBI visit

Investigators issued a subpoena in June 2022 for security camera footage around a storage room area where Trump kept dozens of boxes, many of which contained classified documents. The digital footage was handed over to the government in early July last year and the affidavit makes it clear that the evidence fueled the investigation.

On May 24, footage showed Witness 5 — a man described in the indictment as Nauta — carrying three boxes into Mar-a-Lago, the affidavit said. Two days later, Nautha was interviewed by FBI agents.

At the time, the Justice Department was awaiting a response to a grand jury subpoena from Trump’s legal team, which sought the government’s return of additional documents with classified identities.

A newly unsealed portion of the affidavit states that four days after the FBI interview, surveillance footage showed Nauta moving “approximately fifty banker boxes” from a storage room.

On June 2 — the day before FBI officials arrived at Mar-a-Lago to collect documents in response to a subpoena — security camera footage shows Nauta moving “twenty-five to thirty boxes, some of which were brown cardboard boxes and others were bankers’ boxes,” back to the storage room, newly Unsealed area The affidavit says.

This is a key distinction for investigators because, at Trump’s direction, Nauta moved a total of “approximately 64 boxes from the storage room area” in May 2022, but returned “only 25-30 boxes” to the room.

This is a growing story. It will be updated.

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