Federal prosecutors on Thursday increased the charges against Donald Trump in the case of his negligent management of confidential documents for which he is already indicted, accusing him of trying to delete CCTV footage that interested investigators.
These new charges thicken a case for which a federal trial is scheduled for May 2024 in Florida, in the middle of the Republican primaries for which Donald Trump is favorite. The former president, who accumulates legal setbacks, strongly disputes the facts of which he is accused.
The Republican billionaire has already been indicted in early June in this case, but federal prosecutors have indicated, by a court document made public Thursday, that they accuse him of new facts.
Trump and two of his aides are now accused of asking an employee of his luxurious Florida residence to "remove CCTV footage from the Mar-a-Lago Club to prevent these images from being handed over" to justice.
One of the two incriminated aides, Walt Nauta, had already been indicted alongside Donald Trump. The indictment of the second, Carlos de Oliveira, is new.
The latter, according to the prosecution, "insisted" to a technician at the residence, saying "that 'the boss' wanted this server erased," shortly after federal investigators requested access to camera tapes monitoring a room where boxes of documents were stored.
The former president is also accused of keeping an additional secret military document. Trump had shown it and described it to several people after leaving the White House as "secret," "highly confidential" and not "declassified," according to a recording.
Trump accuses Biden of 'election meddling'
The new charges revealed Thursday are "ridiculous", responded Donald Trump on the Fox News website, accusing once again his successor Joe Biden of being behind the investigation conducted by the federal justice.
"This is election interference," he said. "If we don't outperform Biden by a lot in many polls ... that wouldn't happen," he said.
Donald Trump was previously charged with 37 charges, including "illegal retention of national security information", "obstruction of justice" and "false testimony" in this case, to which he pleaded not guilty in mid-June in a federal court in Miami.
He is accused of putting U.S. security at risk by keeping confidential documents after he left the White House in January 2021, including military plans or information about nuclear weapons, at his Florida residence, instead of handing them over to the National Archives as required by law. Another law, on espionage, prohibits the keeping of state secrets in unauthorized and unsecured locations.
Other ongoing investigations
Earlier Thursday, the former president said his lawyers had spoken earlier in the day with Justice Department officials, ahead of his possible re-indictment in another investigation, linked to attempts to reverse his defeat in the 2020 election.
On July 18, Donald Trump announced that he had received a letter from Jack Smith informing him that he was personally targeted by the federal investigation into attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, including the assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. In this case, he could be charged with three counts: conspiracy against the US state, obstruction of a formal proceeding and deprivation of rights.
A federal indictment in this last case would be added to that on the archives of the White House and the one, conducted by the justice of the State of New York, for suspicious payments to a former actress of films X.
The trouble may not end there for Donald Trump: a prosecutor in Georgia must also announce by September the result of his investigation into the pressure he exerted to try to alter the result of the 2020 presidential election in this southern state.
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