A grand jury indicted Donald Trump on additional charges Thursday tied to his handling of classified documents after he left the White House, including a new accusation that he and employees sought to delete Mar-a-Lago surveillance footage.
The new charges, detailed in a superseding indictment, deepen the legal peril for the 77-year-old politician as speculation swirls around if Trump will be indicted by grand jury in Washington tied to his effort to overturn his loss in the 2020 election.
Trump faces an additional charge of unlawful retention of government documents as well as two additional counts of obstruction of justice based on “allegations the defendants attempted to delete surveillance video footage” at the club in 2022 to conceal it from the FBI and grand jury.
The superseding indictment added a third defendant, Carlos De Oliveira, a property manager at Mar-a-Lago who prosecutors say asked an IT employee to delete the footage days after Trump’s business organization was sent a grand jury subpoena for it.
De Oliveira pulled the IT employee off to the side, asked how many days the server retained footage, and said “the boss” wanted the server deleted, the new indictment states.
After the unnamed worker told De Oliveira he would have to reach out to another employee, De Oliveira insisted “the boss” wanted the server to be deleted, prosecutors said.
The new charges add to 31 that were filed against Trump last month tied to his retention of sensitive documents at the club. Prosecutors alleged Trump took documents from the White House about military plans and nuclear secrets, kept them in a bathroom and other unsecured areas of his club Mar-a-Lago and then took steps to hide them from investigators who sought their return.
An indictment initially accused Trump and an aide, Waltine Nauta, of crimes connected to the retention of the documents. Trump and Nauta have both pleaded not guilty. It was not immediately clear who represented De Oliveira in the case, and no court appearances had yet been scheduled as of Thursday evening.
Last week, Judge Aileen Cannon of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida set a May 2024 trial on the first set of charges, after Trump had requested a delay until after the 2024 election. It was unclear Thursday how the new charges may impact the trial timeline. In a court filing, prosecutors argued the superseding indictment should not alter that timeline.
Trump has used the prosecution in his presidential campaign, calling the prosecution by special counsel John L. “Jack” Smith a “witch hunt” in posts on his social media site Truth Social. The Trump campaign accused the “Biden crime family” of using the Justice Department to harass Trump in a statement issued Thursday.
“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,” the statement said.
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, a Biden appointee, named Smith to oversee the Florida probe as well as a second one in Washington after Trump announced his reelection campaign last year.
Trump said in a post on Truth Social Thursday that his attorneys met with prosecutors on Thursday requesting he not be charged a second time. It was not clear from the post whether Trump referred to the Washington investigation or the Florida case.