Trump, aide Walt Nauta plead not guilty in classified documents case

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Former President Donald Trump and his aide, Waltine “Walt” Nauta, have pleaded not guilty to additional charges filed last month in the investigation into classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago.

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Nauta pleaded not guilty to charges of obstruction of justice and false statements on Thursday during an arraignment in Florida, Reuters reported. Trump waived his right to appear in court and the judge accepted a not-guilty plea he made last week in court papers, according to The Associated Press.

Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos De Oliveira, who is accused of lying to the FBI and trying to hide documents at Trump’s direction, appeared in court alongside Nauta but did not enter a plea because he had yet to find a lawyer in Florida, CNN reported. His arraignment has been scheduled for Tuesday, according to the news station.

Authorities said Trump directed Nauta and De Oliveira to move dozens of boxes at Mar-a-Lago after a grand jury subpoenaed classified records the former president still had after he left the White House in January 2021. In an indictment, officials said Trump showed classified documents to others twice in 2021 — once in July at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, and once in August or September.

Trump, who leads Republicans in the race for the 2024 presidential nomination, has decried the charges, saying the case and other investigations into his actions are politically motivated. On Thursday, he accused President Joe Biden of weaponizing the Justice Department and the FBI in a post on social media.

He faces 40 charges in Florida, including conspiracy to obstruct justice and 32 counts of willful retention of national defense information. He is also facing separate charges in New York, where he is accused of falsifying business records to influence the 2016 presidential election, and Washington, where he is charged with attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election to stay in power.

Trump is also expected to face charges in Georgia, where authorities are investigating attempts to change the state’s 2020 election results.

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