Trump co-defendant Walt Nauta’s arraignment postponed

Travel delays saw Mr Nauta stuck in New Jersey

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Tuesday 27 June 2023 16:03 BST
Trump's second arraignment: Watch how it happened

Former President Donald Trump’s longtime aide, Walt Nauta, could not be arraigned on Tuesday morning as scheduled after his lawyer told the judge that Mr Nauta could not get to Florida due to travel problems.

A new arraignment has been set for 6 July. There are reports that Mr Nauta was going to ask for a delay in the proceedings as he has been unable to retain local counsel.

Mr Nauta couldn’t get a flight to Miami on Monday due to storms in the New York-New Jersey area.

His defence attorney says his client spent eight hours at Newark Airport, including three hours on the runway.

Attorney Stan Woodward explained to Judge Edwin Torres that Mr Nauta’s flight was one of the hundreds postponed by bad weather in the northeast.

Judge Torres agreed there was “good cause” for a delay.

Mr Woodward said that Mr Nauta wanted to “personally apologise” for the delay and told Judge Torres: “He takes very seriously the charges.”

The former president’s bodyman and valet faces six charges, including conspiracy to obstruct, withholding a document or record, and scheme to conceal, according to the federal indictment that was unsealed this month.

Although he appeared alongside Mr Trump in court in Miami earlier this month, Mr Nauta did not enter a plea.

Prosecutors allege that Mr Nauta, at the former president’s direction, moved boxes of documents bearing classification markings so that they would not be found by a Trump lawyer who was tasked with searching the home for classified records to be returned to the government. That, prosecutors said, resulted in a false representation to the Justice Department that a “diligent search” for classified documents had been done and that all documents responsive to a subpoena had been returned.

Mr Nauta is a Navy veteran who fetched Trump’s Diet Cokes as his valet at the White House before joining him as a personal aide at Mar-a-Lago. He is regularly by Trump’s side, even travelling in Trump’s motorcade to the Miami courthouse for their appearance earlier this month and accompanying him afterwards to a stop at the city’s famed Cuban restaurant Versailles, where he helped usher supporters eager to take selfies with the former president.

The former president has pleaded not guilty to 37 felony counts, including making false statements, conspiracy to obstruct justice and willful retention of national defence information, after more than 100 classified documents were recovered from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida in August last year, according to the indictment.

US District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, set a tentative start date of 14 August for Mr Trump’s trial.

However, the Justice Department last week proposed an 11 December trial date for the former president.

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