WASHINGTON – Donald Trump said Friday he would campaign for president from prison if it comes to it, after another co-defendant was added to his federal case on charges of mishandling classified records.
The defendant, Carlos De Oliveira, 56, of Palm Beach Gardens, who was property manager at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, faces four charges, including conspiracy to obstruct justice, destroying or concealing an object, and making a false statement. His initial court appearance is scheduled Monday in Miami.
De Oliveira joins Trump, who faces 40 charges, and personal valet Walt Nauta, who faces eight charges, in the case. Trump and Nauta have pleaded not guilty. A trial is tentatively scheduled to start May 20, amid the GOP presidential primaries as he campaigns for president in 2024.
What are the charges against Trump, De Oliveira?
Trump is charged under the Espionage Act with retaining national defense records with some of the country’s most valuable secrets, which the indictment said included a document “concerning the nuclear weaponry of the U.S.” He is also charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and concealing the documents from authorities. Three of the charges added with De Oliveira were two obstruction counts dealing with surveillance video and another count of keeping defense records.
Legal experts said the case appears strong because FBI agents found and seized the documents during a search Aug. 8, 2022, more than a year and a half after Trump left the White House.
“The new indictment presents Trump in an even clearer light as the architect and overseer of the document obstruction case,” said Ty Cobb, who worked in Trump’s White House counsel office. “Sadly, in Mr. De Oliveira, he adds yet another body to the pile of low ranking loyalists whose reputations and lives he has ruined. Of equal importance in my view it compellingly demonstrates how he deceived his own lawyers regarding the documents.”
But Trump replied Friday to radio host John Fredericks that not even a conviction and sentencing would stop him from campaigning. “Not at all,” Trump said. “Not at all.”
It’s highly unlikely the come to that. Trump and his attorneys have sought to delay the trial until after the election and the review of evidence could delay the trial. Even if convicted, Trump could appeal in a process that could take years.
‘Never saw nothing’: New details in indictment about moving boxes and surveillance video
The superseding indictment Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith filed Thursday adds new details to the case against all three defendants.
The narrative recalls Trump receiving a federal subpoena for classified records May 11, 2022. Nauta moved 64 boxes from a storage room at Mar-a-Lago to Trump’s residence between May 23 and June 2 that year, according to the indictment.
Trump called Nauta for 24 seconds on June 2, the day one of Trump’s lawyers was scheduled to review documents in the storage room, the indictment said. Later that day, Nauta and De Oliveira moved about 30 boxes from Trump’s residence back to the storage room, the indictment said. One of Trump’s lawyers, Evan Corcoran, located 38 documents with classified markings in the storage room and placed them in a Redweld envelope sealed with duct tape, which was later given to federal authorities.
On June 3, Nauta and De Oliveira loaded several boxes onto the plane the flew Trump and his family to Bedminister, New Jersey, for the summer, the indictment said.
On June 23, Trump called De Oliveira for 24 minutes, according to the indictment. The next day, The Justice Department emailed Trump’s company a final subpoena for any surveillance records from Mar-a-Lago for the previous six months. And Nauta changed travel plans − rather than accompany Trump on a trip to Illinois, he headed to Mar-a-Lago, according to the indictment.
On June 24, Nauta texted and called De Oliveira, the indictment said. The next day, Nauta and De Oliveira went to the security guard booth where surveillance video displayed and walked with flashlights through a tunnel to the storage room while pointing out surveillance cameras, according to the indictment.
On June 27, De Oliveira met with an unnamed staffer in the IT department, said to keep the conversation between them and asked how many days the server retained video, the indictment said. The staffer said 45 days. De Oliveira told the staffer “the boss” wanted the server deleted, but the staffer said he would not have the rights to do that, the indictment said.
The indictment describes Nauta and De Oliveira meeting later that day and walking through bushes on the northern side of the property to an adjacent property, returning to the IT office and then walking through the bushes again. The server room flooded in October with water from a swimming pool, but the indictment doesn’t mention that incident.
In an FBI interview Jan. 13, 2023, De Oliveira denied helping unload or move boxes for Trump.
“Never saw nothing,” De Oliveira said, according to the indictment.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Updated indictment sheds new light on Donald Trump classified records