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10 Aug, 2023 18:29

Trump enters plea in new classified documents charges

The former US president was previously indicted on 37 counts related to mishandling files from his presidency
Trump enters plea in new classified documents charges

Former US president Donald Trump and his aide Walt Nauta pleaded not guilty on Thursday to a second round of charges added last month to the 37 felony counts the Republican presidential frontrunner already faces for allegedly mishandling classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate.

Trump, Nauta, and fellow Trump employee Carlos de Oliveira were charged with obstructing the federal government’s efforts to retrieve the documents by conspiring to delete security camera footage from the system monitoring his Palm Beach home after the government issued a subpoena for it. De Oliveira is expected to enter a plea next week once he secures a Florida lawyer.

Trump also pleaded not guilty to another violation of the Espionage Act, stemming from him allegedly showing a classified national security document containing the Pentagon’s plan for attacking Iran to visitors at his Bedminster, New Jersey country club.

Audio of the former president seemingly showing off the “highly confidential” military secrets was released in June following the initial classified documents indictment, appearing to contradict Trump’s previous insistence that he was only referring to publicly-available information at the club and did not have the battle plan in his possession at the time. 

With the filing of the initial charges in the classified documents case in June, Trump became the first former US president ever to be federally indicted. He was indicted again last week on four counts of conspiracy related to his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The former reality star is also facing charges in a Manhattan district court related to his alleged payment of hush money to a porn star in 2016.

Another indictment is reportedly pending against the real estate mogul-turned-politician, this time in the state of Georgia, where Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has been working to indict Trump for election interference based on a phone call he made to the Georgia Secretary of State during the weeks after Election Day 2020 and an unexecuted plan to draw up an alternate slate of electors for the state. A grand jury is expected to consider any potential charges by the end of next week.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges thus far, dismissing them as part of a “witch hunt” against him by a “tyrannical” Democratic Party that wants to lock him up for “six lifetimes.” The indictments have not hurt his performance in polling for the Republican 2024 presidential nomination, though he remains neck-to-neck with incumbent Joe Biden in recent hypothetical matchups.