Former president Donald Trump is facing new charges in the classified documents case that accuse him of asking a staffer to delete camera footage at his Florida in an effort to obstruct the federal investigation into his possession of the records, according to an updated indictment unsealed Thursday.
The indictment includes new counts of obstruction and willful retention of national defense information, compounding Trump’s legal jeopardy even as he braces for a possible additional indictment in Washington over his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
The additional counts underscore the extent of the yearlong investigation into Trump that first produced charges last month in the form of a 38-count indictment against Trump and his valet Walt Nauta.
Surveillance footage at the Mar-a-Lago complex has long been central to the investigation because, according to prosecutors, it showed Nauta moving boxes of documents in and out of a storage room — including such action one day before a visit by FBI and Justice Department officials.
The updated allegations in the indictment center on surveillance footage at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach.
Trump is alleged to have asked to have the footage deleted after FBI and Justice Department investigators visited in June 2022 to collect classified documents that he took with him after leaving the White House a year earlier.
Law enforcement officials issued a subpoena for the footage after noticing surveillance cameras while they were there.
The indictment quotes a Mar-a-Lago property manager, Carlos De Oliveira, telling a colleague that the “boss” wanted a server hosting the footage to be deleted. It says De Oliveira went to the IT office last June, took an employee to a small room known as the “audio closet” and asked the person how many days the server retained footage.
When the employee said he didn’t believe he was able to delete footage, De Oliveira insisted the “boss” wanted it done, asking, “What are we going to do?”
De Oliveira was added to the indictment, charged with obstruction and false statements related to an interview he gave the FBI earlier this year.
According to the indictment, Trump returned that document, which was marked as top secret and not approved to show to foreign nationals, to the federal government on Jan. 17, 2022.
It marks a notable shift in the prosecution’s approach to Trump’s case, charging him for retaining a document it alleges the former president knew was highly sensitive after he left office — and not just for failing to return it to the government when asked.
Both Trump and Nauta have pleaded not guilty.