Donald Trump has been accused of asking an employee to delete security footage at his Florida estate in an effort to obstruct the federal investigation into the classified documents case.
The updated indictment, which added new charges against the former US president, centers on surveillance footage at Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach – evidence that has long been vital to the case.
The former US president is alleged to have asked for the footage to be deleted after FBI and Justice Department investigators visited last June to collect classified documents he took with him after leaving the White House.
The indictment also adds new charges against the former president, who has been charged with illegally retaining hundreds of secret papers, and names an additional defendant.
A trial date for Mr Trump has been set for 20 May next year.
Prosecutors accuse Mr Trump of scheming with his valet Walt Nauta and a Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos De Oliveira to conceal the video from federal investigators after they issued a subpoena for it.
They allege De Oliveira told another employee “the boss” wanted a server containing security footage to be deleted.
When the staff member said they did not know how and believed they did not have the right to, De Oliveira is said to have asked: “What are we going to do?”
Video from the property would ultimately play a significant role in the investigation because prosecutors said it captured Mr Nauta moving boxes of documents in and out of a storage room – including a day before an FBI visit to the property.
The indictment alleges files were moved at Mr Trump’s direction.
It includes new counts of obstruction and wilful retention of national defence information, compounding the former president’s legal jeopardy even as he braces for a possible additional indictment in Washington over his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.