Miami, Jul 27 (EFE).- Special prosecutor Jack Smith on Thursday presented new charges against former President Donald Trump in the case in which the declared 2024 presidential candidate is accused of mishandling classified documents during and after his 2017-2021 White House term.
Smith charged Trump with one additional count of “willful retention of national defense information” and two additional counts of “obstruction” related to the ex-president’s alleged attempts to delete surveillance video footage at his Mar-a-Lago, Florida, residence and resort hotel during the summer of 2022.
The special counsel also charged a third person, Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos De Oliveira, in the case involving the ex-president’s retention of hundreds of classified documents found by federal authorities at Mar-a-Lago.
According to the court brief, the 56-year-old De Oliveira was the person who helped Waltine Nauta – Trump’s personal assistant and also a defendant in the case – move boxes of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago after the US Department of Justice indicted the ex-president for the first time earlier this year in the case.
Trump publicly responded on Thursday to these new charges against him, claiming that they are “ridiculous” and “election interference at the highest level,” Fox News reported.
Trump and Nauta were both indicted last month after a yearlong investigation, with the ex-president facing 38 felony counts.
Both men have pleaded not guilty to all charges against them.
The indictment now also charges De Oliveira with the crime of making false statements and representations in a voluntary interview he had with the FBI on Jan. 13, 2023, according to CNN.
The updated indictment quotes De Oliveira telling a colleague that the “boss” wanted a server hosting the surveillance footage apparently showing the moving of the boxes to be deleted. It says De Oliveira went to the resort’s IT office in June, took an employee to a small private room known as the “audio closet” and asked that person how many days the server retained footage.
When the employee said he didn’t think he was able to delete any footage, De Oliveira said that the “boss” wanted it done, and asked “What are we going to do?”
Smith added De Oliveira to the indictment, charging him with obstruction and providing false statements during an interview he gave the FBI earlier this year.
Meanwhile, a Trump spokesperson dismissed the new charges, calling them “nothing more than a continued desperate and flailing attempt” by the Joe Biden administration to “harass President Trump and those around him” and thus to influence the 2024 presidential race.
Moreover, the Trump campaign said that “Deranged Jack Smith knows that they have no case and is casting about for any way to salvage their illegal witch hunt and to get someone other than Donald Trump to run against Crooked Joe Biden.”
Some of the crimes with which Trump is charged are punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.