Florida man accused of hoarding America's secrets faces fresh charges
Mar-a-Lago IT director told 'the boss wanted the server deleted'
Federal prosecutors have expanded their criminal case against a famous Floridian and his loyal minions for allegedly mishandling national security secrets and not being forthright about the storage and handling of hundreds of classified documents.
The celebrity defendant, a 77-year-old jack-of-all-trades, spent four long years occupying the White House after more than a decade as a reality TV host. On Thursday he faced three new charges [PDF] that may complicate his plan to re-establish residency in America's capital come January 2025.
The charges include: attempting to destroy evidence (obstruction of justice); attempting to induce others to destroy evidence; and a further Espionage Act violation related to the unlawful retention of a top secret document about Iran.
Indicted last month by US Department of Justice special counsel Jack Smith, the real-estate mogul (some of the businesses of whom have gone through various bankruptcy proceedings) initially faced 37 counts related to inappropriate document retention and false statements. His valet Waltine Nauta also was charged with six counts, including conspiracy to obstruct justice, withholding a document, concealing a document, and scheming to conceal.
Both men have pleaded not guilty.
In the superseding indictment [PDF] just filed in a Florida federal court, US government prosecutors claim that the frequent golfer – who reportedly plays with an impressive handicap of just 2.5 – asked for the deletion of surveillance video depicting a time period when boxes of classified documents are alleged to have been moved to conceal them from investigators.
The Florida man, Nauta, and newly charged Carlos De Oliveira, manager of the magnate's private Mar-a-Lago resort, are alleged to have asked that an employee, the resort's IT director, "delete security camera footage at the Mar-a-Lago Club to prevent the footage from being provided to a federal grand jury."
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This deletion scheme is said to have started in the days following June 22, 2022, when the US Department of Justice sent a draft grand jury subpoena for the surveillance video to the high-profile defendant's attorney.
On Monday, June 27, 2022, De Oliveira, according to the superseding indictment, privately met the IT director and said "that 'the boss' wanted the server deleted." The IT director responded that he did not know how to do so and did not believe he would have the rights to do so. He supposedly told De Oliveira to consult the security supervisor for the mogul's business organization.
By some extraordinary coincidence, a few months later in October 2022, according to CNN, a Mar-a-Lago employee drained the resort's swimming pool and somehow flooded "a room where computer servers containing surveillance video logs were kept."
Let this be a lesson about the need for a sound disaster recovery plan. ®