Charges against former President Donald J. Trump and a personal aide, Walt Nauta, unveiled on Friday reveal a number of embarrassing and potentially devastating new details about a year-long investigation previously cloaked in secrecy.
The 49-page indictment, containing 37 counts and seven separate charges against the former president and one against his aide, provided the clearest picture of the breadth of sensitive materials Trump has removed from the White House, how comically haphazard where he and his staff handled documents and, more significantly, what prosecutors described as a pattern of obstruction and misrepresentation intended to shut down the FBI and grand juries.
Here are some of the most significant and surprising allegations:
Mr. Trump and Mr. Nauta are accused of conspiring to obstruct justice.
Prosecutors say they have gathered evidence showing Mr. Trump willfully ignored a May 2022 subpoena demanding he return everything that belonged to the National Archives and took extraordinary steps to thwart the FBI and grand juries .
In the hours before Mr. Trump’s attorney visited his Mar-a-Lago estate to search a storage room for documents — an attempt to comply with the subpoena — Mr. Trump ordered Mr. Nauta, his co-defendant, to move 64 of the boxes out of the closet because he claimed they were his property.
« I don’t want anyone looking through my boxes, I really don’t, » Trump told one of his lawyers, according to the indictment.
He kept boxes of important documents in the shower.
The indictment says that in April 2021, Mr. Trump’s employees needed to move dozens of boxes from a ballroom space they were converting into offices. « There’s still a little room in the shower where his other stuff is, » wrote one assistant to another. Shortly thereafter, the boxes were wheeled into a small bathroom adjacent to a Mar-a-Lago banquet hall and piled nearly up to the tiny chandelier next to the toilet.
Top secret documents were filed so sloppily that they spilled on the floor.
One of the more startling images from the document is an image of a box of top-secret national security documents that had spilled on the floor of a Mar-a-Lago warehouse accessible to many resort employees in 2021. The files were marked with restrictive « five-eye » classification markings, indicating they could only be viewed by officials with maximum-security clearances issued by the United States and its closest allies.
Mr. Trump suggested that his lawyer take a folder of documents and « if there’s something really bad in there, like, you know, get it out. »
In one of the more troubling pieces of evidence for Mr. Trump, the prosecution recounts how, in his lawyer’s words, Mr. Trump and the lawyer argued over what to do with a folder of 38 documents with classification marks. The lawyer said Mr. Trump made a « plucking motion » that implied, « why don’t you take them with you to your hotel room and if there’s something really bad in there, like, you know, pull it out ».
This may indicate that he knew he was withholding sensitive documents, the « bad » ones, authorized people without proper security clearances to review them, rather than simply returning everything to archives, as mandated by the government.
Mr. Trump has been sharing secrets with Bedminster visitors. There is audio.
Many of the incidents recounted in the filing were reported by the media – including a potentially damaging revelation that he was taped displaying secret US battle plans – describing the material as « highly confidential » and « secret », while admitting that he did not having been declassified.
“You see, as president I could have declassified him,” Trump said. He added, « I can’t now, you know, but that’s still a secret. »
A secret map was said to be shared with a staff member of the political action committee.
In another incident in August or September 2021, he shared a top-secret military map with a staff member of his political action committee who did not have a security clearance.
According to the indictment, the former president suggested that a military operation in an unnamed country was not going well. He showed the staff member the map but, according to the indictment, warned the person « not to get too close ».
In these interactions, he seemed to be less interested in the content of the material than in whether it had been « presented » to me, such as a gift or keepsake.
“Isn’t that incredible?” one visitor asked after showing a document, adding that he had randomly pulled papers from “a big pile,” suggesting he had many more.
M. Evan Corcoran, one of Trump’s attorneys, is a key witness.
Mr. Corcoran, who kept meticulous notes (some of them transcribed from self-made iPhone voice memos), found himself in a position to pressure his elusive client to do both the legal and the self-protective thing by returning the documents to the government.
In one of the more jaw-dropping revelations, prosecutors said Mr. Trump and Mr. Nauta moved the boxes so Mr. Corcoran, who requested a full account of the material to be given to investigators, couldn’t find them.