An aide to former President Donald Trump has been indicted in special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into the mishandling of classified documents from the Trump White House.
Walt Nauta’s indictment is the second in the special counsel’s investigation. Trump has been indicted on 37 counts, which include charges relating to the willful retention of national defense information, according to the indictment, which was unsealed on Friday.
Nauta faces six counts, including several obstruction- and concealment-related charges stemming from the alleged conduct.
Prosecutors allege that Nauta lied to investigators when he was interviewed by the FBI in May 2022, according to the indictment. He allegedly falsely said he was not aware of boxes being brought to Trump’s residence for his review before Trump provided 15 boxes to the National Archives in 2022.
But Nauta himself had helped move boxes from the storage room to Trump’s residence, according to the indictment.
“When asked whether he knew where Trump’s boxes had been stored, before they were in Trump’s residence and whether they had been in a secure or locked location, Nauta falsely responded, ‘I wish, I wish I could tell you. I don’t know. I don’t – I honestly just don’t know,’” the indictment states.
The indictment states that between November 2021 and January 2022, Nauta and another Trump employee brought boxes from the Mar-a-Lago storage room to Trump’s residence at the former president’s direction.
“Nauta did in fact know that the boxes in Pine Hall had come from the Storage Room, as Nauta himself, with the assistance of Trump Employee 2, had moved the boxes from the Storage Room to Pine Hall; and Nauta had observed the boxes in and moved them to various locations at The Mar-a-Lago Club,” the indictment states.
An attorney for Nauta declined to comment earlier Friday. Nauta was with Trump at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club this week.
Trump responded to Nauta’s indictment on his social media Friday, writing, “They are trying to destroy his life, like the lives of so many others, hoping that he will say bad things about ‘Trump.’ He is strong, brave, and a Great Patriot. The FBI and DOJ are CORRUPT!”
Nauta’s involvement in the movement of boxes of classified material at Trump’s Florida resort had been a subject of scrutiny of investigators. Nauta, with the help of a maintenance worker at Mar-a-Lago, moved the boxes before the FBI executed a search warrant on the Palm Beach property last August.
According to court filings last year, the FBI found more than 100 documents marked as classified during the search, which took place weeks after a Trump lawyer signed a statement attesting that the Trump team had complied with a May subpoena seeking production of all documents with classified markings.
Investigators obtained surveillance footage showing Nauta and the worker moving boxes of the classified documents around the resort, CNN previously reported. Nauta had spoken to investigators repeatedly in the probe, at first telling them he hadn’t handled boxes or sensitive documents at Mar-a-Lago.
Once the surveillance footage was turned over, however, Nauta changed his story, CNN previously reported, and, after changing attorneys, the aide stopped talking to investigators all together last fall.
The Wall Street Journal first reported Nauta’s indictment.
This story has been updated with additional developments.