Crime & Justice

Carlos De Oliveira, 3rd defendant in Trump documents case, appears in court

Miami, Jul 31 (EFE).- Carlos De Oliveira, the property manager at former US President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort club and residence in Florida, was formally indicted on Monday by a Miami judge in the so-called classified documents case against the ex-president, after which he was released on bail.

Judge Edwin Torres read the charges against De Oliveira on Monday and ordered him to appear in court again on August 10 in Fort Pierce, 200 kilometers (about 125 miles) north of Miami, where the case presided over by Judge Aileen Cannon will be based.

During a brief court audience, De Oliveira, who is of Portuguese origin and is the manager of the Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, where Trump has his residence, said he understood the charges.

De Oliveira was indicted last week by special prosecutor Jack Smith for allegedly requesting the deletion – apparently at Trump’s direction – of the security camera footage investigators had requested be handed over to them in the case.

Judge Torres agreed to release De Oliveira on bail taking into account the fact that the District Attorney’s Office did not object to that move, but he asked De Oliveira to hand over his passport to prevent him from leaving the country.

De Oliveira told the judge that he did not have a Portuguese passport but rather a US one and that it had expired. He also said that he lacked the financial resources to post bail and that he did not own a home in Palm Beach, where he resides, but rather rented his accommodations.

In 2022, after requesting for months that Trump hand over any and all official and/or classified documents he may have taken from the White House when he left office, FBI agents raided Mar-a-Lago and found numerous official documents that the ex-president had taken, including some classified as secret or “top secret.”

At the same time that he charged De Oliveira last Thursday, Smith added three new charges to Trump’s indictment in the case, in which Waltine Nauta, the ex-president’s personal assistant, has also been indicted.

Trump and Nauta pleaded not guilty to all the charges filed against them and presumably will reply to the new ones, including obstruction of justice, for allegedly trying to hide evidence incriminating the former president.

De Oliveira is charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice, alter, destroy, mutilate or hide recordings and other objects, doing so in a “corrupt” manner and making false statements to law enforcement officials, according to his indictment.

The trial is scheduled to begin in May 2024, as determined by Judge Cannon, who was appointed to the federal bench during the Trump administration (2017-2021).

According to the indictment, De Oliveira attempted to delete Mar-a-Lago security camera footage last year after the Department of Justice had issued a subpoena in the case.

The new defendant, about whom little is publicly known, does not belong to Trump’s inner circle although Nauta is considered to be a faithful ally of the former president given that he was his “valet” in the White House.

The indictment describes De Oliveira as being the Mar-a-Lago property manager since January 2022, after being hired years ago as a valet at Mar-a-Lago and a maintenance worker.

CNN reported that De Oliveira was described by relatives and acquaintances as a good worker having little interaction with members of the exclusive club or with Trump’s team.

The former president, according to the accusation, “requested” that De Oliveira delete security camera footage to prevent the images from being provided to federal authorities. It details that De Oliveira told the club’s technical director that “the boss” wanted the server to be deleted.

Trump, who is facing 40 criminal charges in Florida, including withholding 31 classified documents containing national defense information, continues to claim that the case is a plot engineered by President Joe Biden to foil his aspirations to compete in the 2024 presidential election and return to the White House the following year.

Trump is currently the clear favorite in the polls for the GOP presidential primaries, but he could also face further charges brought by Smith concerning his responsibility in instigating his supporters to assault the US Capitol in January 2021 to stop Congress from certifying Biden’s election.

This is the third indictment – following the one related to classified documents and the one last March for Trump’s alleged illegal payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels just prior to the 2016 election to buy her silence about their alleged affair years before.

EFE –/bp

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