Former US President Donald Trump and his valet, Walt Nauta, have formally pleaded not guilty to the latest charges arising from their alleged mishandling of classified documents.
The development follows Special Counsel Jack Smith’s recent filing of a superseding indictment in the case.
While Trump was not physically present during the court proceedings in Ft Pierce, Florida, his legal representatives submitted a plea of not guilty on his behalf. The charges revolve around allegations that Trump, Nauta, and Carlos De Oliveira, Mar-a-Lago’s property manager, conspired to obstruct justice by concealing surveillance footage related to the case.
Nauta appeared in person to enter his plea, while De Oliveira’s arraignment was postponed due to his lack of local representation. The superseding indictment added De Oliveira to the list of codefendants, outlining further allegations against all parties involved.
The indictment alleges that Trump, Nauta, and De Oliveira engaged in a scheme to erase Mar-a-Lago’s surveillance footage, which contained evidence of classified documents being moved. Trump had indicated his intention to plead not guilty after his legal team waived his presence during the arraignment.
The charges stem from Trump’s alleged withholding of classified documents after his presidency, including sensitive information on nuclear programs, military vulnerabilities, and White House strategies.
US District Court Judge Aileen Cannon has set a trial date for May 2024. In a recent development, Trump’s lawyers have requested the establishment of an ultra-secure facility at Mar-a-Lago, allowing him to review classified documents. The request is under consideration.
Apart from this case, Trump is facing other legal challenges, including charges related to his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Prosecutors in Georgia are also expected to present evidence of his involvement in election subversion efforts.