Donald Trump’s valet and “body man” Walt Nauta pleaded not guilty on Thursday to conspiracy charges stemming from the Justice Department’s investigation into the former president’s handling of classified documents.
Prosecutors allege Nauta helped Trump hide documents at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida last year.
Appearing before a federal judge in Miami, Nauta pleaded not guilty to six counts, including conspiracy to obstruct justice and making false statements. Attorney Stanley Woodward argued on behalf of Nauta.
According to investigators, Nauta moved boxes containing classified material at least five times between May and June 2022. During this time, Nauta reportedly removed a total of 64 boxes from a storage room in Mar-a-Lago, but is returned with less than half. figure. He is also accused of lying to investigators during a voluntary interview.
How we got here
Last month, Trump pleaded not guilty to all felony charges stemming from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s 37-count indictment, including willfully withholding national defense information and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Nauta, 40, first worked for Trump in the White House before accompanying him to Florida after his presidency.
His arraignment has been delayed twice. Nauta was supposed to be arraigned alongside Trump on June 13, but he didn’t have a local attorney, which is required in the Southern District of Florida, so he was rescheduled for June 27. That day, Nauta’s flight from Newark to Miami was canceled due to bad weather, and his attorney informed the judge that he had not yet found a local attorney to represent him.
Security video shows boxes moved at Mar-a-Lago: DOJ
On Wednesday, the DOJ released some previously redacted portions of a search warrant request that was used to authorize the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago.
They revealed that surveillance footage showed dozens of boxes moved by a Trump aide, believed to be Nauta, in the days before the FBI executed the search warrant.
“The movement of the boxes by Nauta was detailed in last month’s indictment,” noted The Associated Press, “but its inclusion in the search warrant affidavit helps explain why the Justice Department felt he had a probable reason for searching Trump’s home on August 8, 2022, and why investigators feared documents were intentionally withheld from them.
An initial trial date for Trump and Nauta had been set for August 14, but prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon to postpone the trial until December 11.
Trump calls special counsel a ‘crackhead’
The former president and current front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination has repeatedly attacked multiple federal investigations into his conduct and the special counsel overseeing them.
On Wednesday, after confirmation that cocaine was recently found in the White House, Trump lashed out at Smith in a post on Truth Social, the former president’s social media platform.
“Bothered Jack Smith, the madman, Trump hating special prosecutor, was he seen in the COCAINE area? Trump wrote. “He looks like a crackhead to me!”