Trump pleads not guilty to latest charges in classified documents case

Washington: Former US President Donald Trump as well as his close personal aide Walt Nauta have pleaded not guilty to the latest charges in the case of mishandling classified documents.

Trump and Nauta, a former White House military valet turned personal aide, are facing charges which accuse the two men and a third aide of conspiring to conceal surveillance footage at the former President’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), reports the BBC.

They have already pleaded not guilty to previous charges against them.

The office of Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the documents case and also overseeing a separate indictment of Trump over his alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, on Thursday recommended to a federal court in Washington D.C. that the former President face trial in the election case on January 2, 2024.

In June, he charged the former President with 37 counts, for retaining hundreds of confidential files, including about US nuclear secrets and military plans, after leaving office and for lying to investigators.

Nauta was also charged in the indictment and accused of moving files to hide them from the FBI.

In a superseding indictment, prosecutors detailed an alleged effort between Nauta and Carlos de Oliveira, the property manager at Mar-a-Lago, to obstruct the investigation, the BBC reported.

The court document alleges the two men, at Trump’s request, tried to delete security footage outside the storage room where documents were being held.

That indictment added one count of wilful retention of defence information and two of obstruction against Trump, bringing the total charges against him in the case to 40.

He had previously waived his right to appear in person in the Florida courtroom on Thursday.

His attorney Todd Blanche entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.

Nauta also received two additional charges of obstruction in the latest indictment, while de Oliveira was charged with four counts, including conspiracy to obstruct justice and making false statements.

Both men were present in the room, but de Oliveira was unable to enter a plea as he had not yet retained local counsel.

His arraignment has been rescheduled for August 15.

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