Arraignment delayed again for Mar-a-Lago staffer charged in Trump docs case


Washington — The arraignment for Carlos De Oliveira, the property manager at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort who has been charged in the case alleging Trump mishandled sensitive government documents, was delayed for a second time on Thursday, since he has still not retained a lawyer in Florida.

De Oliveira appeared before a federal magistrate judge in Fort Pierce, Florida, but did not enter a plea on the four charges brought by special counsel Jack Smith and his team of federal prosecutors. De Oliveira made an initial appearance last week and was released on a $100,000 signature bond, but also did not enter a plea then because he hadn’t secured local counsel.

The new date for De Oliveira’s arraignment is Tuesday, Aug. 15.

An aide to Trump, Walt Nauta, pleaded not guilty to new charges on Thursday during his second arraignment in the case. He and Trump face additional charges stemming from Smith’s investigation. The former president notified the court last week that he waived his right to appear at the proceeding and pleaded not guilty to all three additional counts brought against him.

A federal grand jury returned the new indictment naming De Oliveira as the third co-defendant in the case against Trump and Nauta last month. He faces four charges: one count of altering, destroying, mutilating, or concealing an object; one count of corruptly altering, destroying, mutilating or concealing a document, record or other object; one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice; and one count of making false statements and representations during a voluntary interview with federal investigators.

Carlos De Oliveira arrives the James Lawrence King Federal Justice Building on July 31, 2023, in Miami, Florida. / Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Carlos De Oliveira arrives the James Lawrence King Federal Justice Building on July 31, 2023, in Miami, Florida. / Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The updated indictment also included new charges against Trump, who was already facing 37 counts stemming from his handling of sensitive government records, including 31 for the alleged unlawful retention of national defense information. The three new charges brought by the special counsel include two obstruction counts and one additional count of unlawful retention of national defense information, which relates to a Pentagon memo on Iran that Trump allegedly showed to a writer and publisher during a July 2021 meeting at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club.

Trump pleaded not guilty to all original 37 counts and has lambasted Smith’s case as part of a partisan “witch hunt” designed to damage his candidacy for the White House in 2024. Nauta also pleaded not guilty to the six initial charges filed against him during his first arraignment last month.

A trial in the case is set to begin in May 2024.

The new allegations in the indictment involve security camera footage at Mar-a-Lago that was sought through a federal grand jury subpoena sent to a Trump lawyer in June 2022. Prosecutors allege that Trump, Nauta and De Oliveira requested footage to be deleted to prevent it from being turned over to the grand jury.

According to the indictment, De Oliveira told Mar-a-Lago’s director of information technology that “‘the boss’ wanted the server deleted.” When the unnamed employee responded that he didn’t believe he could do that, De Oliveira “insisted” that “‘the boss’ wanted the server deleted and asked, ‘What are we going to do?'” according to the updated indictment from the special counsel’s team.

The FBI and grand jury received surveillance video from Mar-a-Lago in July 2022, which showed boxes being moved, according to the special counsel. The FBI conducted a court-authorized search of the property on Aug. 8, 2022, and retrieved 102 documents with classification markings, 17 of which were marked “top secret,” 54 of which were marked “secret,” and 31 of which were marked “confidential,” according to the indictment.

Multiple sources told CBS News that the Mar-a-Lago I.T. worker is Yuscil Taveras. He has not been charged.

Federal prosecutors also claim De Oliveira lied to investigators during a voluntary interview at his house on Jan. 13 about the location and movement of boxes stored at Mar-a-Lago. De Oliveira told the FBI that he was not part of a group that helped unload and move boxes at the end of Trump’s presidency, and said he was not aware that boxes were being moved, according to the new indictment.

Smith’s team argues De Oliveira’s statements were “false,” because he “personally observed and helped move Trump’s boxes when they arrived” at Mar-a-Lago in January 2021.

The case against Trump involving his handling of government documents that were recovered from his South Florida estate after he left office is the first of two brought against him by Smith and his team. A federal grand jury indicted the former president last week on criminal charges stemming from his efforts to remain in office after the 2020 presidential election. He faces four charges in that case, and pleaded not guilty during an arraignment last week.

Trump was also charged by the Manhattan district attorney with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in late March, which stem from an alleged years-long scheme to use “hush money” payments to keep damaging information about him from the public  before the 2016 election. He pleaded not guilty to those charges as well.

The former president told a crowd of supporters in New Hampshire on Tuesday that he will likely be indicted a fourth time next week, this time by a grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, as part of an investigation by the district attorney there into his efforts to reverse the outcome of the 2020 election.

Jack Renaud contributed to this report.

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