Trump accused of asking staffer to delete camera footage in Florida classified documents case

The allegations were made Thursday in an updated grand jury indictment that adds new charges against Trump and adds another defendant to the case.

An aerial view of Mar-a-Lago

File photo: An aerial view of President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate is seen Aug. 10, 2022, in Palm Beach, Fla. A third defendant has been charged alongside former President Donald Trump and his valet in the classified documents case in Florida, court records show. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

Donald Trump asked a staffer to delete camera footage at his Florida estate in an effort to obstruct the federal investigation into his possession of classified documents, according to an updated indictment unsealed Thursday that adds new charges against the former president and names an additional defendant.

The indictment includes new counts of obstruction and willful retention of national defense information, compounding Trump’s legal jeopardy even as he braces for a possible additional indictment in Washington over his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. The additional counts underscore the extent of the yearlong investigation into Trump that first produced charges last month in the form of a 38-count indictment against Trump and his valet, Walt Nauta.

A Trump spokesperson dismissed the new charges as “nothing more than a continued desperate and flailing attempt” by the Biden administration “to harass President Trump and those around him” and to influence the 2024 presidential race.

The classified records were taken by Trump to Mar-a-Lago after he left the White House in January 2021.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

The superseding indictment charges Trump with an additional count of willfully retaining national defense information relating to the former president discussing U.S. military plans to attack another country during an interview in July 2021 at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club. The interview was for a memoir being written by his onetime chief of staff, Mark Meadows, who in his subsequent book named the country as Iran.

According to the indictment, Trump returned that document, which was marked as top secret and not approved to show to foreign nationals, to the federal government on Jan. 17. 2022.

It marks a notable shift in the prosecution’s approach to Trump’s case, charging him for retaining a document it alleges the former president knew was highly sensitive after he left office — and not just for failing to return it to the government when asked.

Both Trump and Nauta have pleaded not guilty.

Get the WHYY app!

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal