The Mar-a-Lago classified documents case just got significantly bigger, as special counsel Jack Smith unveiled a new superseding indictment against former President Donald Trump, his aide Walt Nauta, and now Mar-a-Lago maintenance worker Carlos De Oliveira, alleging they hatched a conspiracy to delete security footage showing their concealment of boxes of top secret information.
One of the consequences of this, said former federal prosecutor Elie Honig, is that Smith has a new person to potentially flip.
“Talk a little about the legal implications of this new development,” said anchor Wolf Blitzer, just after the report of De Oliveira’s charge was revealed, but before the specific charges were known.
“Well … this individual would only be added to the indictment if Jack Smith and his team believed that they could prove he acted knowingly and intentionally, meaning he wasn’t simply following orders with no concept that what he was doing was against the law,” said Honig. “Presumably Jack Smith believes he has proof beyond a reasonable doubt that this person acted intending to break the law.”
“The other thing to keep in mind, looking at the bigger tactical picture, the more defendants in this case, and this would be a third defendant along with Donald Trump and Walt Nauta, that’s now one more person with an even more powerful incentive potentially to cooperate,” Honig continued.
“Before this person was charged, there was really nothing to threaten him with, no particular downside,” said Honig. “And now if and when this charge comes through, this person’s going to have to make a decision, do I fight this charge and risk potential jail time, or do I try to help my own bottom line by cooperating. So this gives Jack Smith and his team potentially some more leverage, and Donald Trump potential one more thing to worry about.”
Elie Honig says Jack Smith can flip new defendant