Jack Smith Slaps Down Donald Trump Aide Over ‘Unrestricted Access’ Claims


Donald Trump’s valet never had unrestricted access to extremely sensitive classified documents, and so has no need to see secret documents to prepare for his and Trump’s trial, a prosecutor has submitted in court.

Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith says as Trump’s valet, Waltine Nauta was in charge of Trump’s “wardrobe, food, schedule updates, itinerary and appointments” and never was allowed access to documents that had the highest level of national security clearance.

Nauta is charged along with Trump with obstruction of justice after allegedly hiding sensitive classified documents at the former president’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

Smith is trying to limit Trump and Nauta’s access to classified documents, which they say they need to prepare for their trial in south Florida in May 2024. Newsweek asked Nauta’s lawyer for comment by email.

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The defense request for classified documents has already led to months of delays in the case and, as a result, Judge Aileen Cannon has said that she is going to have to create a new pre-trial schedule.

Smith previously stated in court documents that Trump is trying to delay the trial until after the presidential election in November 2024.

According to the indictment, Trump directed Nauta to move boxes that were a focus of the investigation from a storage room at the Mar-a-Lago resort. He was allegedly told to conceal them from Trump’s attorney and the FBI.

Prosecutors claim Nauta can be seen on surveillance video removing the boxes from the storage room ahead of a police search of Mar-a-Lago and later moving some of them back—one of at least five times he moved boxes in and out of the room.

They further allege that, in May 2022, he lied to the FBI about the movement of the boxes.

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Trump and Nauta have pleaded not guilty to all federal charges against them, including conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Waltine Nauta, personal aide to former US President Donald Trump, departs the Alto Lee Adams Sr. US Courthouse in Fort Pierce, Florida, on August 10, 2023. Nauta has been charged with obstruction of justice in Donald Trump’s classified documents case in Florida. Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images© Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images

In total, Trump pleaded not guilty in June to 37 criminal counts related to his handling of classified materials, after prosecutors alleged he repeatedly refused to return hundreds of documents containing classified information. In August, Trump maintained his innocence in three additional felony charges in the classified documents case.

The latest filing in the case is by Julie Edelstein, Department of Justice assistant special counsel, on behalf of Jack Smith.

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It is in response to a request on December 6 by Trump and Nauta for highly sensitive documents allegedly found during a police raid on the Mar-a-Lago estate.

Edelstein states in her submission that Nauta does not need access to the documents because he was never granted clearance to see them in the first place.

“The information at issue goes well beyond what even someone with a Top Secret SCI [Sensitive Compartmented Information] security clearance can lawfully access; many of the documents require additional read-ins,” her submission states.

“There is no reason that Nauta (or any valet) would have received such read-ins. Referring to Nauta as one of Trump’s closest “advisors,” is a misnomer; Nauta has described his role as a personal aide to Trump as taking care of items like Trump’s wardrobe, food, schedule updates, itinerary, and appointments.”

She also dismisses as irrelevant Trump and Nauta’s claim they are not “accused terrorists” and that their lawyers should therefore have access to the documents.

She adds that, as Nauta is not charged with the willful retention of national defense information, he is “not similarly situated to Trump with respect to discovery.”

“The Government has said throughout this case, see, e.g., ECF No. 120 at 2, 8, that should counsel review any classified discovery and see a need to discuss it with their client, counsel could articulate that need for the Government’s consideration.”

“Counsel have never done so, nor do they proffer any justification here, instead seeking blanket access for their uncleared clients to some of the nation’s most critical secrets in the classified discovery,” Edelstein adds.

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