On Thursday, Walt Nauta, a former ‘bodyguard’ for Donald Trump, returned to a Miami tribunal, weeks after the president pleaded not guilty to accusations of intentional possession of national security materials. Nauta has also denied all charges.
There has been much discussion about whether or not he would ever ‘flip’ and testify against his employer; thus, his presence comes at a time when the government’s case against him and the former president is still emerging.
A judge decided on Wednesday to unseal parts of the warrant that investigators used to search Mar-a-Lago for secret documents, prompting the appearance. It featured material that may be used to incriminate the former president’s most trusted confidant.
The federal government has obtained images and surveillance video from inside Mar-a-Lago in addition to the testimony of dozens of witnesses.
Nauta has been charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice, false statements, and document concealment concerning the government’s investigation into Trump’s handling of top secret files.
During Trump’s arraignment in Miami in June, Nauta sat on the same bench as the ex-president. Nauta accompanied Trump to the hearing, flew to Bedminster, New Jersey, and dined with the president at the renowned Miami Cuban Versailles Restaurant.
New evidence suggests that Nauta was designated as “Witness 5,” who was seen escorting crates of documents around the president’s private club. It refers to footage from the ‘South Tunnel Liquor’ camera, which shows the witness putting boxes into and taking them out of storage in the days leading up to the June 2022 FBI raid on Trump’s Florida home.
An FBI document submitted to support the search claims that witnesses saw Nauta remove 64 boxes from the storage area before replacing just 25 or 30.
On May 24th, Nauta was spotted with three boxes. On May 30th, the assistant is observed collecting 50 banker boxes from a storage room after discussing their whereabouts with agents. On June 1st, he is seen returning from the storage room with 11 boxes after taking between 25 and 30 out.
Although Nauta’s name isn’t mentioned in the affidavit, the dates of the events and an FBI interview “during which the location of boxes was a significant subject of questioning” match those in the indictment.