Explosive new video and photo evidence from the raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate was revealed after a judge unsealed the search warrant.
Additional portions of the affidavit that the F.B.I. used to obtain a warrant to search for sensitive documents at Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald J. Trump’s private club, and residence in Florida, were unsealed by a federal magistrate judge on Wednesday, providing some new information about the extraordinary process that had taken place.
“The newly unredacted sections of the affidavit suggested that prosecutors had based their search, in part, on surveillance footage from cameras near a storage room in the basement of Mar-a-Lago showing Walt Nauta, a personal aide to Mr. Trump, moving dozens of boxes in and out of the room days before federal prosecutors arrived to collect any sensitive records still in Mr. Trump’s possession,” the New York Times reported.
“Much of the material in the affidavit unsealed on Wednesday had already been made public in the expansive indictment of Mr. Trump and Mr. Nauta issued in Miami last month. That indictment charged the former president with 31 counts of illegally retaining national defense information and a separate count of conspiring with Mr. Nauta to obstruct the government’s efforts to reclaim them. The judge who ordered the unsealing, Bruce E. Reinhart, had issued two previous orders unsealing separate portions of the warrant affidavit in response to media requests,” the NYT report added.
The warrant says, of the photo, “The purpose of the photograph was to show FPOTUS the volume of boxes that remained in the STORAGE ROOM. The STORAGE-PHOTO, which appears below, captures approximately sixty-one of the FPOTUS BOXES located in the STORAGE ROOM.”
The warrant also contains detailed descriptions of surveillance footage showing Trump co-defendant Walt Nauta moving boxes out of a storage room:
By reviewing the camera footage provided by the Trump Organization in response to the subpoena, the FBI has determined the following: On May 24, 2022, WITNESS 5 is observed exiting the ANTEROOM doorway with three boxes.
On May 30, 2022, four days after WITNESS 5’s interview with the FBI during which the location of boxes was a significant subject of questioning, WITNESS 5 is observed exiting the ANTEROOM doorway with approximately fifty Bankers boxes, consistent with the description of the FPOTUS BOXES. FBI did not observe this quantity of boxes being returned to the STORAGE ROOM through the ANTEROOM entrance in its review of the footage.
The next day, on June 1, 2022, WITNESS 5 is observed carrying eleven brown cardboard boxes out of the ANTEROOM entrance. One box did not have a lid on it and appeared to contain papers.
The day after that, on June 2, 2022, WITNESS 5 is observed moving twenty-five to thirty boxes, some of which were brown cardboard boxes and others of which were Banker’s boxes consistent with the description of the FPOTUS BOXES, into the entrance of the ANTEROOM.
Approximately three and a half hours later, WITNESS 5 is observed escorting FPOTUS COUNSEL 1 through the entrance of the ANTEROOM, and FPOTUS COUNSEL 1 is not observed leaving until approximately two and a half hours later.
On June 3, 2022, FPOTUS COUNSEL 1 is escorted through the ANTEROOM entrance by an unidentified individual wearing a jacket with “USSS POLICE” printed on the back. The unidentified individual and FPOTUS COUNSEL 1 exit the ANTEROOM entrance moments later. FPOTUS COUNSEL 1 appeared to be carrying a Redweld envelope after exiting the ANTEROOM.
Below is a new photo showing 61 boxes of material in a Mar-a-Lago storeroom:
A legal expert has pointed to a potential “red flag” that could see a federal judge appointed by then-President Donald Trump taken off the government’s classified documents case against him.
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, writing on her Substack page “Civil Discourse,” said that special counsel Jack Smith “made a smart strategic play” when he filed a motion late last month in U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon’s South Florida courtroom to have Trump’s trial date moved from August to December.
Under the Speedy Trial Act, the government has a 70-day timeframe from the arraignment date to prosecute the former president. The act allows for certain periods of “excludable time” and other delays that typically favor the defendant, Raw Story notes.
However, Trump’s legal team is expected to request additional delays, potentially aiming to extend the proceedings beyond the upcoming presidential election year, the outlet added.
According to court filings, prosecutors have contended that the case is straightforward and uncomplicated, involving only two defendants without any unique legal or factual complexities. Therefore, they are likely to further argue that there is limited justification for Trump to seek a delay in the trial that would extend into late 2024 or beyond.
As part of the discovery process, the government has promptly provided non-classified evidence to defense attorneys. Therefore, any approval of a trial delay by Cannon could draw attention and scrutiny.
Even without special treatment from Cannon, Trump’s trial venue in Florida works to his advantage.