FIRST ON FOX: Former President Donald Trump said Thursday he didn’t think it was “necessary” to appear at a hearing Thursday regarding new charges related to classified documents found at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach, Florida.
Asked during a round of golf at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club why he chose to waive the court appearance, Trump responded, “I didn’t feel it was necessary.”
The comments from Trump came as he entered a not guilty plea to the new charges.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Shaniek Mills Maynard formally accepted the plea from Trump, who told the judge in court papers last week he is not guilty and waived his right to appear at Thursday’s hearing. Trump’s aide Walt Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira, the property manager of Mar-a-Lago, were both present for the hearing.
Nauta also pleaded not guilty to the superseding indictment. De Oliveira was unable to enter a plea in the case because he still has not secured a Florida-based attorney, which is required under local court rules. His arraignment was pushed back a second time and is now scheduled for Tuesday.
De Oliveira and Nauta appeared in federal court in Fort Pierce, Florida, on an updated indictment brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith, alleging they schemed with the Republican former president and current 2024 GOP front-runner to try to delete Mar-a-Lago surveillance video sought by investigators.
Trump, Nauta and De Oliveira face charges that include conspiracy to obstruct justice in the case stemming from secret government documents found at Trump’s Palm Beach club after he left the White House in 2021.
De Oliveira made his first court appearance in the case last week when he was released on $100,000 bond but could not be arraigned without retaining a Florida lawyer. Nauta’s arraignment had also been delayed several times due to similar circumstances.
Trump has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges in three different cases this year as he tries to reclaim the White House in 2024. The Republican has denied any wrongdoing and has characterized all the cases against him as politically motivated.
Trump pleaded not guilty in Washington, D.C., federal court last week in a second case brought by Smith that accuses Trump of conspiring with allies to overturn his 2020 election loss to Democrat Joe Biden.
The updated indictment in the documents case raises allegations about surveillance footage at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach. Trump is alleged to have asked for the footage to be deleted after FBI and Justice Department investigators visited in June 2022 to collect classified documents he took with him after leaving the White House.
The former president and his team deny the new allegations and have publicly stated that the footage was turned over to authorities.
Fox News’ Danielle Wallace and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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