Trump accused of pressuring employee to delete security footage

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Esha Saxena Mandala
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Donald Trump is accused of pressuring an employee to delete security footage at his Florida home, in new criminal charges related to his alleged mishandling of classified files.

The new indictment adds one count of wilful retention of defence information and two of obstruction, making 40 charges in total in this case.

Mr Trump denies any wrongdoing and has called the prosecutor “deranged”.

He is fighting multiple legal cases as he runs for president again.

A staff member at the former US president’s Mar-a-Lago estate, Carlos de Oliveira, has also now been indicted.

He is alleged to have asked what could be done to delete the footage – which prosecutors say shows illegally-held files being moved.

Mr Trump has pleaded not guilty alongside his close aide Walt Nauta, who also received two additional charges of obstruction on Thursday.

The revised indictment outlines alleged efforts between Mr Nauta and Mr de Oliviera, the property manager at Mar-a-Lago, to obstruct the justice department’s investigation.

According to the new court documents, Mr Nauta and Mr de Oliveira conspired to delete footage from security cameras after the Department of Justice issued a subpoena asking for surveillance footage of the basement where it said confidential documents were held.

In the court documents, Mr de Oliveira is claimed to have texted another employee who was the director of information technology that “the boss” wanted the server deleted.

The documents allege that Mr de Oliveira later met with the employee in a small IT room, told him their conversation should remain private, then pressured the man into obliging his request after the employee told Mr de Oliveira that he did not have the authority.

The indictment sets out a scene where it is claimed Mr de Oliveira walked through bushes and foliage at the edge of Mar-a-Lago, a leisure resort that had been known as the Winter White House, to get to the IT room and meet Mr Nuata.

“What are we going to do,” Mr de Oliveira allegedly asked his co-worker. A lawyer for Mr de Oliveira has declined to comment.

The updated indictment alleges that Mr Trump knowingly discussed a top-secret document with biographers visiting Mar-a-Lago to interview him.

The indictment says the document Mr Trump revealed to the biographers contained possible plans to attack “Country A”, which CNN and other outlets identified as Iran.

“Look what I found… Isn’t it amazing? I have a big pile of papers, this thing just came up. Look,” Mr Trump allegedly said to one of his guests.

The documents case is led by special prosecutor Jack Smith, who earlier in the day met with Mr Trump’s lawyers over a separate investigation into alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Mr Trump’s attorneys John Lauro and Todd Blanche met officials at Mr Smith’s office in Washington DC, US media reported.

The former president said earlier this month that he expected to be indicted in that case, but said on Thursday his lawyers received no indication of timing.

Mr Trump dismissed the fresh charges in the documents case in an emailed statement from his 2024 presidential campaign.

“Deranged Jack Smith knows that they have no case and is casting about for any way to salvage their illegal witch hunt,” the statement read.

The latest charge against Mr Trump adds to a growing list of legal problems for the property and reality TV mogul.

He currently awaits trial for a hush-money case in which he faces 34 felony counts, he faces civil charges in a defamation case against author E Jean Carroll, and Georgia prosecutors are still weighing whether or not to press charges over an alleged effort overturn the election results there.

Former Trump aide Stephen Moore told the BBC the charges against the former president amounted to “attacks” which were serving to solidify his nomination in the Republican presidential primaries.

“The more they indict him, the more his popularity goes up with Republicans”, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

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