Trump, Nauta plead not guilty in classified docs case; De Oliveira arraignment delayed again

Trump, Nauta plead not guilty in classified docs case; De Oliveira arraignment delayed again

Trump waived right to appear in court; De Oliveira still has not retained Florida attorney

By Darren Lyn

HOUSTON, United States (AA) - Former US President Donald Trump and longtime aide Walt Nauta pleaded not guilty Thursday in the ongoing mishandled government classified documents case.

But Carlos De Oliveira, the property manager at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, had his arraignment delayed for a second time because he has not yet retained a lawyer in the state of Florida.

Trump's attorney entered a not guilty plea on the former president's behalf, as Trump waived his right to appear in person. Nauta appeared in the Fort Pierce courtroom with his attorney who entered a not guilty plea for his client.

De Oliveira also appeared in person Thursday but just like his initial appearance last month, he was unable to enter a plea because he had not yet retained a local attorney. The new date for De Oliveira's arraignment was scheduled for Aug. 15.

Trump pleaded not guilty in June to 37 criminal charges related to his handling of classified documents including materials related to US nuclear secrets and America's defense capabilities. Nauta also pleaded not guilty to related charges during his court appearance alongside the former president.

A federal grand jury last month named De Oliveira as a third co-defendant in the case which was initiated by special counsel Jack Smith. De Oliveira faces four charges including altering, destroying, mutilating, or concealing documents or records, making false statements to federal investigators and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Prosecutors allege that the three men engaged in a plot to destroy potential evidence after the Trump Organization received a draft grand jury subpoena in June requesting Mar-a-Lago security footage.

The indictment alleges that Trump communicated with both men the following day, including a 24-minute telephone call with De Oliveira and that De Oliveira allegedly told the Mar-a-Lago director of information technology that "the boss" (Trump) wanted the server holding the security footage deleted.​​​​​​​

The FBI received surveillance video from Trump's Florida resort which showed boxes being moved and agents retrieved more than 100 documents labeled "top secret," "secret" and "confidential," according to the indictment.

Trump has denied all charges and denounced the special counsel's probe as a political witch hunt.

A trial in the case is scheduled to begin in May 2024.

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