ABC News and The New York Times are reporting that another Trump Organization employee has been sent a target letter in the criminal federal case against Donald Trump for mishandling classified documents. Special counsel Jack Smith sent the unnamed “low-level” employee a target letter in recent weeks indicating that the employee could be facing an indictment.
That as-of-yet unnamed employee testified to a grand jury in Washington, D.C., in May. The notification that they are now under investigation suggests that Smith and team have evidence the staffer might have committed perjury in that testimony. This time it’s not about the handling of the documents, but the handling of the surveillance footage from Mar-a-Lago showing Trump’s co-indictee, Walt Nauta, moving boxes of those documents around.
ABC sources said that the “government is not taking the position that footage was deleted or destroyed, but rather is zeroing in on potential efforts to obstruct the probe.” So it’s possible this Trump Organization employee could be facing both perjury and obstruction charges.
Trump and his “body man” Nauta were indicted last month on 37 criminal counts, including 31 charges of willful retention of national defense information in violation of the Espionage Act. The indictments charge Trump and Nauta with conspiring to obstruct the government from seizing the documents, many of which are highly classified, up to and including a detailed list of the nation’s nuclear arsenal. Trump is also charged with illegally holding all of these documents after leaving office.
Prosecutors send target letters to subjects of an investigation to alert them of potential criminal charges. Smith sent Trump a target letter one week before the Florida grand jury indicted him. The warning presumably gives this employee the opportunity to come clean with prosecutors and cooperate, or likely face charges. Stanley Woodward Jr., the employee’s lawyer, had no comment. When ABC contacted them to ask about the letter and their discussions with investigators, they replied, "It's none of your business." (Note: ABC used the pronoun “his” in this reporting.)
Judge Aileen Cannon has been assigned to the federal case against Trump and his assistant, Nauta. Cannon, a woefully inexperienced judge who was appointed by Donald Trump, has a track record of siding with Trump in previous cases. She is currently considering Trump’s request for an indefinite postponement of the trial, potentially pushing it back until after the 2024 election. Smith’s team has asked that it be set in December.
What’s clear from this target letter is that the investigation is ongoing and Smith’s team are continuing to gather evidence, potentially opening up another route for more charges against the Trump Organization for obstruction beyond the indictments of Trump and Nauta.
Bottom line is that the investigation into the Trump Organization, and Trump himself, hasn’t stopped. That also means that new revelations of these and possibly additional Trump crimes can be expected, and that puts some pressure on Cannon to act like a real judge rather than part of Team Trump.
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