Carlos De Oliveira, the property manager at Mar-a-Lago, made his first court appearance on Monday after being charged by the Justice Department in an alleged plot with Donald Trump and Walt Nauta, the former president’s personal aide, to illegally keep classified documents at the Palm Beach, Fla., estate.
De Oliveira was charged with four counts, including conspiracy to obstruct justice and lying to investigators.
Appearing in federal court in Miami, De Oliveira was informed of the charges against him but did not enter a plea because did not have a lawyer listed who is able to practice in Florida, where the case will be tried. He was released on a $100,000 bond pending trial and the arraignment was rescheduled for Aug. 10.
Chief Magistrate Judge Edwin Torres ordered De Oliveira to turn over his passport and said he cannot travel outside South Florida without permission.
[CNN: Mar-a-Lago property manager makes first court appearance in classified documents case]
De Oliveira was charged in a superseding indictment against Trump and Nauta, which was unsealed on Thursday. It alleged that Trump tried to have security video deleted after the Justice Department sent a subpoena for the footage in June 2022. According to prosecutors, De Oliveira asked an information technology staffer how long the server retained footage and told the employee that “the boss” wanted it deleted.
More Trump indictments looming
The new charges come as Trump braces for indictments in two other cases stemming from his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
Last week, Trump said that he received a letter from special counsel Jack Smith informing him that he was a target of the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into his efforts to hold onto power following his loss in the 2020 election, including his actions leading to the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol.
Trump is reportedly facing three potential criminal charges: conspiracy to commit an offense against or defraud the United States; deprivation of rights; and witness tampering.
On Thursday, the former president’s lawyers met with prosecutors in Washington, D.C., while a grand jury was hearing evidence in the case. They were told that Trump should expect to be charged in the case but were not given any indication of when an indictment would be brought.
Barricades go up in Georgia
In Georgia, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has signaled that indictments are possible in the next few weeks as a grand jury convenes to consider possible charges against the former president and others who tried to persuade Georgia election officials to reverse Trump’s narrow loss to President Biden in the state.
Biden carried Georgia by just 11,779 votes.
[AP: Trump could be indicted soon in Georgia. Here’s a look at that investigation.]
Barricades were placed outside the Fulton County Courthouse in downtown Atlanta on Thursday ahead of possible charges against Trump and his associates.
Georgia judge skewers Trump
On Monday, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney said it’s too soon for Trump or his allies to seek to prohibit state prosecutors from continuing to investigate him.
“[W]hile being the subject (or even target) of a highly publicized criminal investigation is likely an unwelcome and unpleasant experience, no court ever has held that that status alone provides a basis for the courts to interfere with or halt the investigation,” McBurney wrote in a nine-page ruling. “And for some, being the subject of a criminal investigation can, a la Rumpelstiltskin, be turned into golden political capital, making it seem more providential than problematic.”
Trump is the prohibitive frontrunner in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. And Trump’s leadership PAC has already spent more than $40 million on his legal fees.
Trump’s ‘Big Lie’ suit against CNN dismissed
Meanwhile, a federal judge in Florida has dismissed Trump’s defamation lawsuit against CNN. The suit had alleged that “the Big Lie” — the label given by the cable network to Trump’s false claims of election fraud — was tantamount to comparing him to Adolf Hitler.
But U.S. District Judge Raag Singhal, who was appointed by Trump, disagreed.
“CNN’s use of the phrase ‘the Big Lie’ in connection with Trump’s election challenges does not give rise to a plausible inference that Trump advocates the persecution and genocide of Jews or any other group of people,” Singhai wrote in his decision.
Moreover, the judge ruled that the references made by the network’s hosts were opinions and not factual statements, and therefore protected by the First Amendment.