Trump aide Walt Nauta indicated in docs case after ‘extortion’
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Trump aide Walt Nauta indicated in docs case after ‘extortion’

Donald Trump’s personal aide Waltine Nauta has been indicted alongside the former president on six charges stemming from special counsel Jack Smith’s classified documents probe — as Trump’s now-former attorney claimed a prosecutor “extorted” one of Nauta’s lawyers.

Nauta, who served as the 76-year-old Trump’s “body man” during and after his White House stint, is alleged to have helped the 45th president move classified files around his Mar-a-Lago residence, as well as conceal their presence from his lawyers and the FBI, according to the charging document unsealed Friday.

The accusations detailed in the 49-page filing include that Nauta, a Navy veteran, helped Trump’s team pack the real estate mogul’s papers as he prepared to leave the White House in January 2021.

Nauta later allegedly communicated with two unnamed Trump employees about moving the boxes of classified materials around the Palm Beach resort, where pictures show the bins were stored in a ballroom before being moved to a storage room and – eventually – a shower.


Walt Nauta.
Walt Nauta is also facing charges in the DOJ’s classified documents probe.

on Dec. 7, 2021, the indictment claims, Nauta found several of the boxes in the storage room topped over, revealing at least one document marked confidential to the Five Eyes intelligence alliance.

He then texted a photo of the document to an unnamed Trump employee, who replied “’Oh no oh no.’”

After Trump was issued a subpoena for all classified documents on May 11, 2022, Nauta is alleged to have acted on the former president’s instructions to remove at least 64 boxes from the storage room ahead of his attorney’s assessment.


Walt Nauta on plane with Trump
Walt Nauta is pictured to the far left, alongside Chris LaCivita, center, listening as former President Donald Trump speaks with reporters and staff on his airplane.
The Washington Post via Getty Images

But when Nauta was voluntarily interviewed by the FBI on May 26, the indictment states, he told agents that he was not aware the documents previously sent to the National Archives and Records Administration had been stored at Trump’s residence – and claimed that he did not know how the documents were secured.

“I wish, I wish I could tell you. I don’t know. I don’t – I honestly don’t know,” Nauta is alleged to have told the interviewers.

On June 3, Nauta allegedly put some of the absconded boxes on a plane that carried Trump and his family north to Bedminster, New Jersey for the summer.


CNN's Kaitlan Collins and James Trusty
Trusty spoke with CNN about what he called a “corrupt and politicized” process after Trump was indicted on seven counts.
CNN

Nauta faces six federal charges, including conspiracy to obstruct justice, withholding a document or record, corruptly concealing a document or record, concealing a document in a federal investigation, scheming to conceal, and making false statements to federal agents.

Several of the charges carry a maximum sentences of 20 years behind bars, in addition to six-figure fines.

Before the indictment was unsealed on Friday afternoon, Trump posted on Truth Social that his aide was being targeted by the investigation.


Waltine Nauta.
Nauta had given conflicting statements to prosecutors about the retention of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, prosecutor Jay Bratt said.

“I have just learned that the ‘Thugs’ from the Department of Injustice will be Indicting a wonderful man, Walt Nauta, a member of the US Navy, who served proudly with me in the White House, retired as Senior Chief, and then transitioned into private life as a personal aid,” he wrote.

“He has done a fantastic job! 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!”

In a CNN interview Thursday night, Trump’s then-lawyer James Trusty claimed prosecutor Jay Bratt had threatened to sink Nauta attorney Stanley Woodward’s application for a federal judgeship if his client didn’t turn on the former president.


James Trusty
Trump lawyer James Trusty said Thursday that federal prosecutors “extorted” a lawyer for a witness who flipped.
AP

In a CNN interview Thursday night, James Trusty claimed prosecutor Jay Bratt had threatened to sink Nauta attorney Stanley Woodward’s application for a federal judgeship.

“He apparently, along with five other people in his presence from the DOJ, extorted a very well-respected, very intelligent lawyer from Washington, DC, saying essentially, ‘If you want this judgeship that’s on Joe Biden’s desk, you have to flip your guy to cooperate against the President of the United States,’” Trusty charged.

Bratt said Woodward wasn’t a “Trump guy” and was going to do “the right thing” with respect to Nauta, a source familiar with the meeting told The Post Friday.


Walt Nauta
The witness, Walt Nauta, was asked to cooperate in an investigation into the former president’s handling of classified documents.
The Washington Post via Getty Images

Immediately after pointing out that Nauta had given conflicting statements to prosecutors about the retention of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, Bratt brought up Woodward’s bid for the federal bench, according to Trusty and The Guardianwhich first reported on the incident.

Bratt, who served as chief of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence and export control section for its National Security Division, had asked a federal court to seal the affidavit that led to the FBI’s search of Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8, 2022.

“This is the guy who wanted to do a raid before they even had a subpoena out,” Trusty told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins.


Mar-a-Lago
Trump was indicted on charges reportedly related to a violation of the Espionage Act and charges of obstruction of justice, destruction or falsification of records, and conspiracy.
AP

“So we’re going to want some discovery about just how far-ranging this criminal activity was by prosecutors,” he added, mentioning an email exchange “from the guy who actually did the extortion message” who was quoted as saying “they’ re not going to worry about their own dirty house.”

The stunning allegations have been outlined in a sealed letter to DC US District Court Chief Judge James Boasberg.

Neither the Department of Justice nor Woodward responded to requests for comment.


Former President Donald Trump
Trump announced in a Truth Social post on Friday that Nauta had been indicted.
Donald Trump / Truth Social

On Friday morning, the former president posted that Trusty had resigned as his legal counsel, which the lawyer confirmed in a separate statement.

“For purposes of fighting the Greatest Witch Hunt of all time, now moving to the Florida Courts, I will be represented by Todd Blanche, Esq., and a firm to be named later,” Trump said, appointing the attorney who is already handling his Manhattan “hush money” case.

“I want to thank Jim Trusty and John Rowley for their work, but they were up against a very dishonest, corrupt, evil, and ‘sick’ group of people, the likes of which have not been seen before. We will be announcing additional lawyers in the coming days. When will Joe Biden be Indicted for his many crimes against our Nation? MAGA!”


Todd Blanche
Todd Blanche will now serve as the president’s chief legal counsel for the case.
Steven Hirsch

In their statement, Trusty and Rowley said they had resigned as Trump’s counsel and would no longer represent him in either the document case or Smith’s ongoing investigation of the 45th president’s role in the Capitol riot.

“It has been an honor to have spent the last year defending him, and we know he will be vindicated in his battle against the Biden Administration’s partisan weaponization of the American justice system,” they said of Trump. “Now that the case has been filed in Miami, this is a logical moment for us to step aside and let others carry the case through to completion.

“We have no plans to hold media appearances that address our withdrawals or any other confidential communications we’ve had with the president or his legal team.”

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