Six pictures released as part of the indictment against Donald Trump show cardboard boxes containing classified documents stacked in unusual locations across his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. The former US President allegedly stacked classified material in a shower, a bathroom, a ballroom and his bedroom.
The images were released on Friday as Mr Trump was indicted on 37 counts related to sensitive documents recovered from Mar-a-Lago. He has been accused of illegally holding on to files with details of US nuclear weapons programmes, the potential vulnerabilities of the US and its allies and US plans for retaliatory military attacks.
According to the indictment, Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate “was not an authorised location for the storage, possession, review, display, or discussion of classified documents” after he left office. Prosecutors pointed out that “tens of thousands of members and guests” visited the “active social club” at Mar-a-Lago for more than a year after Mr Trump left the White House.
“Nevertheless, Trump stored his boxes containing classified documents in various locations at The Mar-a-Lago Club – including in a ballroom, a bathroom and shower, an office space, his bedroom, and a storage room,” according to the indictment.
In one of the images, boxes allegedly containing classified documents also appeared to be tucked between a toilet and a shower in a bathroom. According to the BBC, these boxes were moved to the bathroom in April 2021. Later, Mr Trump directed that a storage room on the ground floor be cleaned out so that it could be used to store his boxes, and they moved there in June.
Citing the indictment, the outlet reported that at one point, the storage room at Trump’s Florida residence was filled with more than 80 boxes. One of Trump’s aides, identified as Walt Nauta, who is also charged in the indictment, also texted the picture to his colleague saying, “I opened the door and found this”.
The documents are said to be part of count eight against Mr Trump, which relates to a document dated 4 October 2019, “concerning military capabilities of a foreign country”.
One image also showed dozens of boxes stacked to the ceiling. According to the indictment, an employee showed the photo to Mr Trump so that he could “see how many of the boxes were stored in the storage room”.
Notably, Mr Trump has been charged with 37 counts including willful retention of national defence information, conspiracy to obstruct justice, corruptly concealing documents, and false statements. The charges, brought by Justice Department Special Counsel Jack Smith, bring up to 20 years in prison each.