Former President Donald Trump has been charged by the Justice Department with attempting to delete surveillance footage from his Mar-a-Lago property, according to a new superseding indictment filed in the classified records case. The indictment alleges that Trump collaborated with a new co-conspirator to try to erase the footage, leading to an additional Espionage Act charge against him.
The indictment brings the total number of counts facing Trump to 40 and includes a charge based on military documents that Trump claimed to possess during a meeting, despite not having declassified them.
The indictment accuses Trump of working with Carlos de Oliveira, the property manager of the hotel, and another co-defendant, Walt Nauta, in an attempt to delete the footage. It details de Oliveira’s efforts to find out how long security footage was stored on the Mar-a-Lago system and his subsequent instruction to another employee that “the boss” wanted the server deleted.
The indictment also describes secretive planning between de Oliveira and Nauta, including walking among the bushes around the IT office where the security footage was managed and observing and pointing out security cameras.
The indictment also accuses de Oliveira of lying to investigators about his involvement in moving boxes at the property, claiming he “never saw anything” related to boxes moving in and out of the storage room.
In addition, the indictment includes a 32nd document for which Trump is facing charges of violating the Espionage Act: a top-secret document on a presentation about military activity in a foreign country. This document is alleged to be one that Trump referenced in a meeting at his home in Bedminster, New Jersey, admitting during the exchange that he had not declassified the material and describing it as “highly confidential.”
The Trump campaign has responded to the indictment, calling it a desperate attempt by the Biden administration and the Department of Justice to harass Trump and those around him. The campaign also criticized Special Counsel Jack Smith, accusing him of conducting an illegal witch hunt.
The superseding indictment comes as a Washington grand jury met in another special counsel probe into Trump’s efforts to remain in power after losing the 2020 election. The indictment ties up two loose ends in the case, with reports indicating that the special counsel had taken additional investigative steps related to apparent “gaps” in security footage.
Trump is currently scheduled to go on trial in May of next year.