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Trump’s Co-defendants in Classified Documents Case Request Judge to Dismiss Charges

Donald Trump (Credits: CNBC)

Lawyers representing two co-defendants of former President Donald Trump in the classified documents case petitioned a judge on Friday to dismiss charges against them.

Trump’s valet, Walt Nauta, and Mar-a-Lago property manager, Carlos De Oliveira, stand accused of conspiring with Trump to obstruct an FBI investigation into the hoarding of classified documents at the former president’s Palm Beach estate. All three defendants have entered pleas of not guilty.

During a Friday afternoon hearing, attorneys for Nauta and De Oliveira urged U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon to dismiss the charges they face. This request was met with opposition from special counsel Jack Smith’s team, which initiated the charges against them and Trump. The judge deferred her ruling on the matter.

Former President Donald Trump (Credits: BBC)

Nauta and De Oliveira are not charged with the illegal storage of the documents but rather with aiding Trump in obstructing governmental efforts to retrieve them.

Prosecutors allege that in 2022, Nauta relocated numerous boxes from a storage room at Mar-a-Lago to Trump’s residence, ostensibly to impede their return to the government. They also claim that Nauta and De Oliveira colluded with Trump in attempting to erase surveillance footage showing the box movement, which was sought by the FBI.

However, defense attorneys contest these accusations. They argue that there is no indication that either defendant was aware of the sensitive nature of the documents in the boxes.

Donald J. Trump (Credits: ABC News)

“The Superseding Indictment does not allege that Mr. De Oliveira ever saw a classified document… [or] was aware of any government investigation,” De Oliveira’s lawyers stated in court filings.

Similarly, Nauta’s lawyer, Stanley Woodward, emphasized in court that “the only person benefiting from these acts was former President Trump.” Trump, the presumptive presidential nominee for Republicans, has separately filed motions seeking to dismiss charges against him.

Despite his efforts, Judge Cannon previously denied two of these motions, one challenging the constitutionality of the Espionage Act statute and another asserting Trump’s entitlement to retain classified files as personal property under the Presidential Records Act.

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