Trump’s Former Aide Walt Nauta Fights Back Against Classified Documents Charges

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Walt Nauta pleaded no contest to charges that he assisted Donald Trump in hiding classified documents from federal authorities. He appeared with a Florida-based attorney to represent him moving forward.

Nauta and Trump were both charged in June with a 38-count charge alleging mishandling of classified documents. He was supposed to be arraigned twice but was unable to find a Florida-licensed lawyer and had to postpone one appearance due to his travel problems.

Nauta had hired Sasha Dadan as his criminal defense lawyer and former public defender before his arraignment. Her main law firm is located in Fort Pierce where the judge would be presiding over the trial. She appeared with Nauta in court, along with his Washington lawyer Stanley Woodward who entered a not-guilty plea for him.

Nauta replied, “Yes Your Honor,” to the question of whether he reviewed the indictment at the court appearance. After the arraignment, he and his attorneys exited the courthouse and entered a black Mercedes-Benz sedan. They did not answer any questions from journalists.

Trump was arraigned on June 13 and pleaded not guilty to several charges, including the willful retention of information about national defense. Nauta was not arraigned on that date because of the lawyer issue. It was then rescheduled last week after a flight he was supposed to take from New Jersey was canceled.

In the indictment, Jack Smith and the team of prosecutors accused Nauta of conspiring with Trump in order to hide records that Trump had taken from the White House following his term ending in January 2021.

The prosecution alleges that Nauta moved boxes of classified documents at the direction of the former president so they wouldn’t be found by the Trump lawyer who had been tasked to search the house for classified records which were to be returned to the government.

Prosecutors said that this led to a false statement to the Justice Department claiming that “diligent searches” had been conducted for classified documents and that all documents responsive to a subpoena were returned.

According to newly released information, the Justice Department subpoenaed surveillance footage showing the relocation of the boxes. Agents and prosecutors then cited this evidence as probable cause for a crime to have been committed when they applied for a search warrant in August to search Mar-a-Lago.

Nauta, according to prosecutors, also misled FBI agents during an interview last year by claiming he didn’t know that boxes of documents had been brought to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.

Nauta, a Navy veteran, served as Trump’s valet in the White House and then joined him at Mar-a-Lago as a personal aide. He has been by Trump’s side for many years. In fact, he accompanied Trump in his motorcade earlier this month to the Miami Courthouse to appear before the court. After that, he accompanied him to the famed Cuban Restaurant Versailles where a crowd of supporters wanted to take selfies.