Trump aide Walt Nauta pleads not guilty in classified documents case

(ABC NEWS)—Walt Nauta, the longtime aide to former President Donald Trump who was charged alongside him in the special counsel’s classified documents case, has pleaded not guilty to all charges at his arraignment in Miami.

Nauta, who first worked for Trump in the White House before accompanying him to Florida following Trump’s presidency, is facing six counts as part of the criminal case involving Trump’s handling of classified documents. The charges include conspiracy to obstruct justice and making false statements.

Nauta’s arraignment was repeatedly delayed due in part to his inability to obtain local counsel to represent him. A magistrate judge in Miami warned Nauta’s attorney last week that today’s arraignment should be considered the “drop dead” deadline.

The longtime aide first appeared in court in Miami with Trump in June, but was not arraigned because he did not have local representation. He and Trump sat with each other at the defendants’ table, separated by Trump’s attorney, for the duration of the hearing.

Trump pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Nauta wanted to “express his sincerest condolences to the court,” Woodward told the judge.

“He takes very seriously the charges,” Woodward said.

Members of special counsel Jack Smith’s team who brought the case did not oppose a delay in the arraignment, but asked for the delay to be as “brief as possible.”

Smith was not present for the hearing, but members of his team, including Jay Bratt and David Harbach, were in court for the government.

Trump pleaded not guilty last month to 37 criminal counts related to his handling of classified materials, after prosecutors said he repeatedly refused to return hundreds of documents containing classified information ranging from U.S. nuclear secrets to the nation’s defense capabilities. He has denied all charges and denounced the probe as a political witch hunt.

Prosecutors allege that Nauta moved boxes containing classified documents around Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate at Trump’s direction, in an effort to prevent the documents from being turned over to authorities.

In one instance, prosecutors allege that boxes were moved out of a storage room at the Palm Beach estate before Trump’s attorney searched the room for documents to hand over to investigators in compliance with a grand jury subpoena seeking their return.

According to the indictment, Nauta was seen on surveillance footage moving boxes.

Nauta, a Guam native who enlisted in the Navy in 2001, worked in the Trump White House, where in 2021 he was promoted to the rank of Senior Chief Culinary Specialist, according to Navy records. Trump, according to investigators, subsequently promoted Nauta to be his valet, otherwise known as a “body man.”


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