April 23, 2024 3:47 pm
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Trump’s Legal Woes Mount as Fresh Charges Hit Him in Documents Case

Former President Trump Faces New Charges Alleging Obstruction of Investigation

Former US president Donald Trump faced fresh charges Thursday alleging that he attempted to obstruct the investigation into the mishandling of top-secret documents by conspiring to delete surveillance footage at his Mar-a-Lago property in Florida. Federal prosecutors unsealed the new indictment targeting the front-runner in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, who is set to go on trial as the election heats up in May of next year.

New Charges Added in the Investigation

The new charges came the same day Trump said his lawyers met with Justice Department officials ahead of a separate expected indictment over his alleged efforts to overturn the result of the 2020 election. The twice-impeached former president was first indicted in the classified documents case last month, accused of endangering national security by holding on to top secret nuclear and defense information after leaving the White House. Thursday’s superseding indictment accuses the billionaire of acting with his co-defendant in the case, personal aide Waltine “Walt” Nauta, and a new defendant, property manager Carlos de Oliveira, to delete security camera footage at Mar-a-Lago.

Additional Counts and Accusations

The fresh charges add to the existing counts of “willful retention of national defense information” and charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice, making false statements and other offenses to which Trump pleaded not guilty last month. The new indictment recounts a conversation between de Oliveira and a fourth, unnamed employee in which de Oliveira says “the boss” wants the server deleted. It also adds an extra count under the Espionage Act related to Trump allegedly retaining a classified document “concerning military activity in a foreign country.”

Trump Denies Charges

Trump Thursday night dismissed the new accusations as “ridiculous” during an interview with Fox News Digital. “It’s election interference at the highest level,” he said, blaming his potential campaign opponent President Joe Biden and the Justice Department for “prosecutorial misconduct.” And in a terse statement, his campaign called the special counsel appointed to the case, Jack Smith, “deranged” and said he “knows that they have no case.”

Legal Proceedings and Mounting Troubles

Trump said July 18 he had received a letter from Smith saying he was a target of the January 6 probe, focused on the efforts to prevent certification of Democrat Biden’s 2020 election victory. The letter reportedly cited three federal criminal statutes: conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction of an official proceeding, and deprivation of rights. Those could relate to schemes to pressure several states to change their vote counts so that Trump would be named the winner, and to create “fake electors” that would lead to Congress naming Trump as the overall election victor over Biden.

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