MIAMI (AP) – An employee at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, Carlos De Oliveira, is expected to make his first court appearance Monday on charges of scheming with the former president to hide security recordings from investigators probing Trump’s hoarding of classified documents.
De Oliveira, Mar-a-Lago’s property manager, was added last week to the indictment with Trump and former presidential valet Walt Nauta in the federal case alleging a scheme to illegally keep top-secret records at Trump’s Palm Beach, Florida, estate and thwart government efforts to recover them.
De Oliveira is charged with including conspiracy to obstruct justice and lying to investigators. He is scheduled to appear before a judge in Miami nearly two months after that Trump pleaded not guilty in the case brought by special counsel Jack Smith.
De Oliveira’s attorney, John Irving, said Monday that his client had not yet found a Florida-based attorney — a requirement had delayed Nauta’s holding earlier — and warned that De Oliveira’s indictment could also be delayed.
Developments in the case of classified documents come as Trump prepares for possible impeachment another federal investigation in his efforts to hang on to power after he lost the 2020 election. Trump, the early front runner in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, has received a letter from Smith indicating he is a target of this investigation, and Trump’s lawyers met with Smith’s team last week.
A lawyer for De Oliveira last week declined to comment on the allegations. Trump has denied any wrongdoing and said the Mar-a-Lago security tapes were voluntarily turned over to investigators. Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform last week that he was told the tapes were not “deleted in any way, shape or form.”
Prosecutors have not alleged that security footage was actually deleted or withheld from investigators.
So does Nauta pleaded not guilty. U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon had previously scheduled the trial for Trump and Nauta start in Mayand it is unclear whether the addition of De Oliveira to the case may affect the timeline of the case.
The latest indictment, released Thursday, alleges that Trump tried to have security footage deleted after investigators visited in June 2022 to collect classified documents Trump took with him after he left the White House.
Trump already faced dozens of felony charges — including knowingly storing fictitious defense information — stemming from allegations that he mishandled government secrets that he, as commander-in-chief, was entrusted to protect. Experts have said the new claims strengthen the special counsel’s case and deepening the former president’s legal jeopardy.
Video from Mar-a-Lago would ultimately prove crucial to the government’s case because, prosecutors said, it shows Nauta moving boxes in and out of a storage room — an act allegedly done at Trump’s direction and in an attempt on hiding records not only from investigators, but Trump’s own lawyers.
Days after the Justice Department subpoenaed Mar-a-Lago video footage to the Trump Organization in June 2022, prosecutors say De Oliveira asked an information technology employee how long the server kept footage and told the employee the “boss” wanted it . deleted. When the employee said he didn’t think he could do it, De Oliveira insisted the “boss” wanted it done and asked, “What are we going to do?”
Shortly after the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago and found classified records in the storage room and Trump’s office, prosecutors say Nauta called a Trump staffer and said things like, “someone just wants to make sure Carlos is good. ” The indictment says the employee responded that De Oliveira was loyal and would not do anything to affect his relationship with Trump. That same day, the indictment states, Trump called De Oliveira directly to say he would get De Oliveira a lawyer.
Prosecutors allege that De Oliveira later lied in interviews with investigators, falsely claiming that he had not even seen boxes moved into Mar-a-Lago after Trump left the White House.
Richer reported from Boston.