(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump’s former valet and an aide has been indicted on federal charges over the former president’s refusal to return top-secret government documents found at his Florida home.
Walt Nauta, Trump’s former White House valet who left to become an aide at Mar-a-Lago, has been named as a co-conspirator with the former president. Nauta’s lawyer Stanley Woodward declined to comment.
The indictment says that Nauta was directed by Trump to “move boxes of documents to conceal them from Trump’s attorney, the FBI and the grand jury.” Nauta was also one of the aides that packed the documents as Trump was leaving the White House, according the the filing.
The court filling includes pictures taken by Nauta of the boxes of documents in a Mar-a-Lago ballroom and documents spilled across the floor of a storage room.
Nauta served as Trump’s military valet in the White House and continued working for Trump after he left office, making him a central figure in the classified documents probe. Nauta was questioned multiple times by investigators about the role he played moving boxes of documents at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, according to earlier reports by the Washington Post.
Trump, who was indicted in Miami federal court on Thursday, is the first former president to be charged with committing federal crimes. He is also a candidate for the Republican nomination for president in 2024.
“I have just learned that the ‘Thugs’ from the Department of Injustice will be Indicting a wonderful man, Walt Nauta, a member of the U.S. Navy, who served proudly with me in the White House, retired as Senior Chief, and then transitioned into private life as a personal aide,” Trump said on his Truth Social platform Friday.
The indictment of Trump contains seven charges including willful retention of national defense information, corruptly concealing documents, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and making false statements, according to the indictment unsealed in federal court in Miami.
Trump also announced Friday that he is shuffling his legal team and now will be represented by Todd Blanche, a former New York prosecutor. The two Washington lawyers who previously led Trump’s defense on the documents case, Jim Trusty and John Rowley, have resigned. Bloomberg previously reported on Blanche’s expanded role.
Read More: Trump’s NY Defense Lawyer Expands Role to Special Counsel Probes
Trusty and Rowley said in a statement that they resigned and “we will no longer represent him on either the indicted case or the January 6 investigation.”
Blanche is a former prosecutor who resigned from an elite law firm to defend Trump against New York criminal charges. Trump was indicted earlier this year by New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg related to hush money payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. He also faced a civil ruling in New York that held him liable for sexual battery against author E. Jean Carroll.
Nauta enlisted in the US Navy in 2001, serving on bases across the country before he joined the Presidential Food Service at the White House in 2012, according to records provided by the Navy. The food service team does more than prepare meals – specialists assigned to the unit also provide security and personal support, including valet duties, for the president and their family.
Nauta retired from the US Navy in September 2021. Federal election records show he was placed on the payroll of Trump’s Save America political action committee starting in August 2021, and received just under $194,000 in payments, travel reimbursements and bonuses through the end of 2022. Starting in January, federal records show he was employed by Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign.
Meanwhile, a federal judge in Florida who handled Trump’s dispute last fall with the Justice Department over access to the classified documents found at his home appears to have been initially assigned to the former president’s new criminal case, according to a person familiar with the matter.
US District Judge Aileen Cannon’s name is on the summons that Trump’s lawyers received Thursday instructing him to make his first appearance at a Florida courthouse next week to face a criminal indictment over handling of those documents, said the person, who asked for anonymity to discuss confidential information.
It wasn’t clear if Cannon will remain permanently assigned to the case. The assignment was reported earlier by ABC News.
(Updates with more details on indictment, Nauta.)
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