Trump aide Walt Nauta pleads not guilty in classified documents case

Waltine “Walt” Nauta, an aide to former President Donald Trump, pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges connected with classified records found at Mar-a-Lago.

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Nauta appeared in court for his arraignment after earlier delays prompted by the lack of local counsel and a flight cancelation. Authorities said Nauta helped Trump hide classified documents that he brought to his Florida estate after he left the White House in January 2021. Investigators also said Nauta lied during an interview with the FBI.

Nauta appears in court

Update 11:45 a.m. EDT July 6: Nauta pleaded not guilty during a brief court appearance on Thursday, The Associated Press reported. He has been charged with 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.

Ahead of the appearance, Nauta hired attorney Sasha Dadan to represent him, according to The Palm Beach Post.

Original report: Nauta made his initial appearance alongside the former president last month.

On June 13, Trump pleaded not guilty to 37 charges, including conspiracy to obstruct justice, scheming to conceal and 31 counts of willful retention of national defense information. He has denied any wrongdoing, calling the case “election interference” as he runs for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

Nauta, a Navy veteran, served as a White House valet during Trump’s presidency. He became Trump’s personal aide in August 2021, officials said.

In an indictment made public earlier this month, authorities said the 40-year-old conspired with Trump to allow the former president to keep classified records. Nauta moved boxes of documents and other items for the former president, authorities alleged.

Last year, investigators said that they found more than 100 classified records at Mar-a-Lago after Trump claimed to have earlier turned over all classified records to authorities. In November, Attorney General Merrick Garland named Jack Smith to act as special counsel overseeing the investigation and others involving Trump.

Trump is not expected to appear at Thursday’s hearing.

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