A Mar-a-Lago maintenance worker provided prosecutors key evidence in Justice Department’s investigation of Donald Trump over the former president’s handling of classified documents, The New York Times reports.
The maintenance worker told authorities that they witnessed an aide moving boxes into a storage room the day before a Trump lawyer met with FBI agents and a prosecutor who visited the former president’s Florida home to retrieve classified documents.
The worker had offered to help the aide move the boxes, according to the report, but the worker was not aware of what was in the boxes.
The aide is identified as Walt Nauta, who served as Trump’s valet in the White House.
The revelation follows reporting from The Washington Post earlier in the day that two of the former president’s employees moved boxes containing papers in a development that’s being viewed as suspicious by investigators.
Additionally, The Post reported that Trump’s aides conducted a “dress rehearsal” for moving sensitive documents before his office received the May 2022 subpoena.
The Times’ Alan Feuer and Maggie Haberman write that “The worker’s account is potentially significant to prosecutors as they piece together details of how Mr. Trump handled sensitive documents he took with him from the White House upon leaving office and whether he obstructed efforts by the Justice Department and the National Archives to retrieve them.”
“Mr. Trump was found to have been keeping some of the documents in the storage room where Mr. Nauta and the maintenance worker were moving boxes on the day before the Justice Department’s top counterintelligence official, Jay Bratt, traveled to Mar-a-Lago last June to seek the return of any government materials being held by the former president.”
Weeks earlier the Justice Department issued a subpoena demanding the return of the documents.
Prosecutors are investigating whether the documents were moved in an effort to conceal them.
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“Part of their interest is in trying to determine whether documents were moved before Mr. Corcoran went through the boxes himself ahead of a meeting with Justice Department officials looking to retrieve them,” Feuer and Haberman write.
“Prosecutors have been asking witnesses about the roles of Mr. Nauta and the maintenance worker, whose name has not been publicly disclosed, in moving documents around that time.”