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Trump aide Nauta indicted, former president says

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By Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Walt Nauta, a personal aide to Donald Trump, was indicted alongside the former Republican president on Thursday, Trump said on his social media network on Friday.

Nauta, a former military valet, worked for Trump at the White House before accompanying the former president to work for him at his Florida resort.

The charges were brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith, who was appointed to oversee both the investigation into Trump’s retention of classified records and a separate probe into efforts to overturn Trump’s defeat in the 2020 presidential election.

A spokesperson for Smith’s office could not be immediately reached for comment. The Wall Street Journal and CNN first reported the indictment citing unnamed sources.

Nauta’s lawyer Stanley Woodward declined to comment.

The charges come after Trump’s legal team was notified in recent days that he could face potential criminal charges in the classified documents case.

Nauta reportedly helped to move cardboard boxes at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate which contained documents and other mementos from Trump’s time as president.

Nauta initially told investigators he did not know whether Trump had retained classified records, according to media reports, but later said he had moved some of the boxes.

The Justice Department later subpoenaed surveillance footage from Mar-a-Lago which corroborated that boxes had been moved, raising suspicions about possible obstruction of justice.

Nauta has long been seen as a possible defendant in the criminal case, according to sources familiar with the matter.

It is common for prosecutors in a criminal case to file charges first against lower-level individuals to pressure them to cooperate to secure charges against bigger targets.

Investigators seized roughly 13,000 documents from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, nearly a year ago. One hundred were marked as classified, even though one of Trump’s lawyers had previously said that all records with classified markings had been returned to the government.

Trump has previously defended his retention of documents, suggesting that he declassified them while president.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Additional reporting by Rami Ayyub and Susan Heavey; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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