Timeline: How Trump, staffers conspired to delete security footage, according to prosecutors

The allegations came in the special counsel's superseding indictment.

July 27, 2023, 10:45 PM

Special counsel Jack Smith in July filed additional charges against former President Donald Trump and his aide Walt Nauta and added a new defendant to Smith's case involving Trump's handling of classified documents after leaving office in early 2021.

The superseding indictment added a new count charging Trump with willful retention of national defense information. Trump and Nauta both pleaded not guilty to all charges in the initial indictment in June.

Carlos De Oliveira, the head of maintenance at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, was added to the obstruction conspiracy charges as prosecutors alleged that he, Trump and Nauta conspired to delate Mar-a-Lago security footage as federal officials were investigating the retention of the classified documents.

Here is how the additional charges came about.

June 22, 2022

After observing security footage near the storage room in which classified information was found, the Justice Department sends Trump's lawyers a draft grand jury subpoena for some security footage from cameras near the storage room at Mar-a-Lago, Trump's Florida club and residence, according to the superseding indictment.

June 23, 2022

Trump and De Oliveira speak on the phone for 24 minutes, according to the superseding indictment.

June 24, 2022

The Justice Department sends Trump's legal team the final grand jury subpoena for "[a]ny and all surveillance records, videos, images, photographs and/or CCTV from internal cameras" including the floor of the storage room from Jan. 10-June 24, 2022.

According to the superseding indictment, later that day, Nauta is told by a coworker that Trump wants to see him. Less than two hours later, Nauta changes his travel schedule to go to Palm Beach, Florida, instead of meeting up with Trump in Illinois the next day as had been planned.

PHOTO: In this June 9, 2023, file photo, special counsel Jack Smith speaks to reporters in Washington, D.C.
In this June 9, 2023, file photo, special counsel Jack Smith speaks to reporters in Washington, D.C.
Jose Luis Magana/AP, FILE

Nauta provides inconsistent reasons for the change in travel plans to his colleagues, texting a secret service agent he had to check on a family member in Florida, then texting the same agent the following morning that he was in Florida working, the superseding indictment says.

Nauta and De Oliveira are also in touch that day with each other and an unnamed employee who is identified by Smith's office as the director of information technology at Mar-a-Lago. The messages among the three are largely focused on checking their work availability, the superseding indictment says.

June 25, 2022

De Oliveira speaks with an unnamed Mar-a-Lago employee who is identified in the superseding indictment as a valet attendant, informing the valet that Nauta will be coming down from Bedminster, New Jersey. De Oliveira asks the Mar-a-Lago employee to "not tell anyone" and that Nauta's visit is "to remain secret," according to the superseding indictment.

De Oliveira shares with the Mar-a-Lago employee that Nauta wanted to speak with Mar-a-Lago's director of IT to see "how long camera footage was stored," the superseding indictment says.

Shortly after arriving in Palm Beach, Florida, that evening, Nauta meets with De Oliveira at Mar-a-Lago, where they go to the security booth where surveillance video is displayed on monitors. According to the superseding indictment, they "walked with a flashlight through the tunnel where the storage room was located, and observed and pointed out surveillance cameras."

June 27, 2022

Shortly before 10 a.m., De Oliveira walks to the IT office where the director of information technology is working with another employee, prompting De Oliveirato ask the director of IT to step away with hm so they can talk, according to the superseding indictment.

De Oliveira and the IT director leave the IT office and walk through a basement tunnel into a small room known as the "audio closet" near the white and gold ballroom, according to the superseding indictment. Once inside, the indictment alleges, De Oliveira says this conversation needs to "remain between the two of them."

De Oliveira asks how many days the server retains footage, to which the IT director responds he believes it is "approximately 45 days."

According to superseding indictment, De Oliveira says "the boss" wants the server deleted, to which the IT director says said he wouldn't know how to do that and does not believe he has the rights to do that. The IT director tells De Oliveira that De Oliveira would need to reach out to another employee who is supervisor of security for Trump's business organization.

According to the superseding indictment, De Oliveira insists "the boss" wants the server deleted, asking the IT director, "What are we going to do?"

Approximately 15 minutes later, De Oliveira texts Nauta, "Hey buddy are you working today?" resulting in a phone call that lasts about one minute, the superseding indictment says.

Around 1 p.m., Natua texts De Oliveira, who is still at Mar-a-Lago, saying "On my way to you," according to the superseding indictment.

Between 1:30 and 1:50 p.m., the superseding indictment says, De Oliveira walks through bushes along the northern edge of the Mar-a-Lago property to meet Nauta on the adjacent property. De Oliveira then walks back to the IT office he had visited earlier in the morning, and then walks again through the bushes to meet back with Nuata on the adjacent property.

At 3:55 p.m., Trump calls De Oliveira and they speak for approximately three and a half minutes, according to the superseding indictment.

August 8, 2022

FBI agents execute a search warrant at Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence, where they remove several boxes of materials.

August 26, 2022

Just two weeks after the search, Nauta calls the valet attendant and, according to the superseding indictment, says something along the lines of "someone just wants to make sure Carlos [De Oliveira] is good."

The employee allegedly responds that De Oliveira is "loyal" and that he would not do anything to affect his relationship with Trump, according to the superseding indictment.

The same day, Trump calls De Oliveira assuring him he will get De Oliveira an attorney, the superseding indictment says.

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