Trump aide Walt Nauta finally enters not-guilty plea in Mar-a-Lago document case after he spent a month trying to find a Florida lawyer

Trump aide Walt Nauta finally enters not-guilty plea in Mar-a-Lago document case after he spent a month trying to find a Florida lawyer

Former President Donald Trump and his aid Walt Nauta (right) arrive at an airport after Trump spoke at the Georgia Republican Party's state convention on Saturday, June 10, 2023 in Columbus, Georgia.

Former President Donald Trump and his aid Walt Nauta (right) arrive at an airport after Trump spoke at the Georgia Republican Party’s state convention on Saturday, June 10, 2023 in Columbus, Georgia.Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

  • Walt Nauta pleaded ‘not guilty’ in federal court on Thursday.

  • He finally secured local representation hiring criminal defense attorney Sasha Dadan.

  • This is the third time that Nauta was scheduled to appear for the arrangement.

MIAMI — Third time’s the charm for former President Donald Trump’s personal aide, Waltine Nauta, a co-defendant in the classified documents case, who pleaded “not guilty” on Thursday.

After two previous delays, Nauta hired attorney Sasha Dadan to represent him in the case. Dadan is a criminal attorney based in Fort Pierce, Florida, who previously ran for the Florida House.

The attorney who represented him in the other court appointments, Stanley Woodward, entered the plea on behalf of his client and waived the reading of the indictment.

“We enter a plea of ​​not guilty on all counts,” Woodward said.

Nauta spoke only once, to admit to the judge that he understood the charges against him.

Magistrate Judge Edwin Torres told Dadan at the start of the court proceedings that he was “very glad” Dadan was present. He’d told Woodward before that he should consider Thursday the deadline to retain counsel. News of the attorney’s identity was first reported in The Messenger.

This is the third time that Nauta, 40, has been scheduled to appear in federal court in Miami after he had problems for several weeks securing an attorney licensed to practice in Florida, as local rules require.

Torres allowed Nauta to delay his case even though magistrate judges have the power to assign a public defender in such cases, even on a temporary basis.

Nauta smiled at a reporter’s question as he entered the courthouse before the arrangement, but didn’t answer questions upon entering or leaving.

Though Nauta was taken into custody in a Miami courthouse during Trump’s widely watched appearance on June 13 — in which the former president pleaded “not guilty” — he wasn’t arraigned nor did he enter a plea that day.

Nauta then didn’t appear in court on June 26 because of flight cancellations in Newark, New Jersey. Hewas in Newark because he works closely with Trump, who during the summer leaves his Florida-based Mar-a-Lago home for his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club.

Like Trump, Nauta didn’t have to post a bond and won’t face restrictions on his travel as the case moves forward.

US Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman, the judge presiding over the June 13 proceedings, ordered Trump and Nauta not to discuss the case with each other unless they did so through their lawyers.

Federal prosecutors allege that Nauta helped pack Trump’s boxes before he left the White House and repeatedly moved them around Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s residence and private club, at the ex-president’s request.

Trump directed Nauta “to move boxes of documents to conceal them from Trump’s attorney, the FBI, and the grand jury,” the indictment alleges.

Nauta is a longtime personal aide for Trump, who remains the frontrunner for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. A Navy veteran, Nauta started working for Trump as a White House valet, a role that includes being a personal assistant, messenger, and errand runner for the president.

In the latest development on the case, the Department of Justice on Wednesday evening released a less redacted version of the FBI affidavit underpinning last year’s search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart signed off on the release earlier Wednesday, after a push from news organizations.

US District Judge Aileen Cannon, who Trump appointed when he was president, is expected to preside over the trial itself. Cannon set a tentative schedule to have the trial over by September, though special counsel Jack Smith asked for the trial to be pushed to December.

Trump’s defense team has until July 10 to respond to the proposed schedule.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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