Mar-a-Lago property manager pleads not guilty to charges in Trump’s classified documents case

Aug 14, 2023, 9:04 PM | Updated: Aug 15, 2023, 8:08 am

FILE - Carlos De Oliveira, center, the property manager of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, leaves...

FILE - Carlos De Oliveira, center, the property manager of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, leaves the Alto Lee Adams Sr. U.S. Courthouse, Aug. 10, 2023, in Fort Pierce, Fla. De Oliveira's arraignment is set Aug. 15. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

FORT PIERCE, Fla. (AP) — Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos De Oliveira pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to scheming with Donald Trump to try to delete security footage sought by investigators probing the former president’s hoarding of classified documents.

An attorney for De Oliveira entered the plea on his behalf during a brief hearing in the Fort Pierce, Florida, federal court, where Trump is charged with illegally holding onto top-secret records at his Palm Beach club and thwarting government efforts to retrieve them.

It’s the third court appearance for De Oliveira, who twice before had his arraignment postponed because he hadn’t yet finalized a Florida-based attorney, which is required under court rules.

De Oliveira spoke only to answer the magistrate judge’s questions, such as whether he understood the charges against him. De Oliveira and his new attorney, Donnie Murrell of West Palm Beach, walked out of the courthouse without speaking to reporters.

De Oliveira’s arraignment comes a day after Trump was charged in a fourth criminal case. Monday night Trump and 18 allies were indicted in a case out of Fulton County, Georgia, over alleged efforts by him and his supporters to illegally meddle in the 2020 election in that state.

In the Mar-a-Lago case, Trump and his valet, Walt Nauta, were originally charged in June in one of two cases brought by special counsel Jack Smith. Smith has also charged Republican Trump in Washington with illegally conspiring to overturn his 2020 election loss to Democrat Joe Biden.

An updated indicted unsealed late last month brought more charges against Trump and Nauta, and added De Oliveira to the Florida case. Trump is facing dozens of felony counts in the classified documents case, and Smith’s new indictment included additional counts of obstruction and willful retention of national defense information.

Trump and Nauta have also pleaded not guilty. The former president has denied any wrongdoing.

De Oliveira, Trump and Nauta are facing charges that include conspiracy to obstruct justice in the case stemming from secret government documents found at Mar-a-Lago after Trump’s presidency ended in 2021. De Oliveira is also charged with lying to investigators. Prosecutors allege he falsely claimed he hadn’t even seen boxes moved into Mar-a-Lago after Trump left the White House.

The trial is scheduled to begin in May in front of U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon. If the date holds, it would follow close on the heels of a separate New York trial for Trump on dozens of state charges of falsifying business records in connection with an alleged hush money payment to a porn actor.

The allegations in the latest indictment focus on security footage prosecutors say Trump tried to have deleted after investigators sent a subpoena for it in June 2022. Prosecutors have not alleged the footage was actually deleted.

Prosecutors say De Oliveira asked an information technology staffer how long the server retained footage and told the employee “the boss” wanted it deleted. When the employee said he didn’t believe he was able to do that, De Oliveira insisted the “boss” wanted it done, asking, “What are we going to do?”

Video from Mar-a-Lago could ultimately become vital to the government’s case because, prosecutors said, it shows Nauta moving boxes in and out of a storage room — an act alleged to have been done at Trump’s direction and in effort to hide records not only only from investigators but also from Trump’s own lawyers.


Richer reported from Boston. Associated Press reporter Freida Frisaro contributed from Fort Lauderdale.

National News

FILE - Rain soaked memorials for those who died in a mass shooting sit along the roadside by Scheme...

Associated Press

3 Army Reserve officers disciplined after reservist killed 18 people last October in Maine

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Three Army Reserve officers were disciplined for dereliction of duty in the aftermath of a rampage in which a reservist killed 18 people in Maine, according to an Army report that cited communication failures within the chain of command, and between military and civilian hospitals, among other shortcomings revealed during an […]

20 minutes ago

Associated Press

2024 Election Latest: Harris has secured enough support to earn party’s nomination, AP survey finds

Vice President Kamala Harris had a busy 24 hours after being endorsed as the Democratic presidential candidate by President Joe Biden. She has secured enough delegates to earn the party’s nomination and raised more than $81 million, a record sum for the 2024 political cycle. Meanwhile, The Secret Service director testified before a congressional committee […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

2 killed when small plane crashes after takeoff from Long Island airport

RONKONKOMA, N.Y. (AP) — A small plane crashed shortly after takeoff on New York’s Long Island, killing both people who were on board, authorities said. The single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza A36 took off from MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma at about 6:15 p.m. Monday and crashed after the pilot tried to return to the runway, Suffolk County […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Kamala Harris is preparing to lead Democrats in 2024. There are lessons from her 2020 bid

ATLANTA (AP) — Kamala Harris was greeted by a massive, cheering crowd during the first rally of her newly announced presidential campaign in 2019. Speaking on a late January day outside city hall in her hometown of Oakland, California, she framed her bid as part of something bigger than simply winning an election. “We are […]

3 hours ago

FILE - Unsold 2024 Escalade utility vehicles sit in a row outside a Cadillac dealership on June 2, ...

Associated Press

With US vehicle prices averaging near $50K, General Motors sees 2nd-quarter profits rise 15%

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. customers who bought a new General Motors vehicle last quarter paid an average of just under $49,900, a price that helped push the company’s net income 15% above a year ago. And GM Chief Financial Officer Paul Jacobson said he doesn’t see his company cutting prices very much, despite industry analysts’ […]

4 hours ago

FILE - In this July 27, 2021 file photo, Simone Biles, of the United States, watches gymnasts perfo...

Associated Press

Biles, Osaka and Phelps spoke up about mental health. Has anything changed for the Paris Olympics?

Lydia Jacoby was a breakout star in the pool for the United States at the last Summer Games, earning a gold medal in the 100-meter breaststroke and a relay silver. Part of what comes to mind from those heady days in Tokyo? “People talking about post-Olympic depression,” she said. She was 17 at the time, […]

5 hours ago

Mar-a-Lago property manager pleads not guilty to charges in Trump’s classified documents case