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Ex-Trump employee who moved boxes full of classified documents is now key witness in the Florida case


Donald J. Trump, the former president of the United States, is currently involved in several criminal cases that span his business ventures and political endeavors. These legal battles are unfolding against the backdrop of his tumultuous tenure in office and the aftermath of the 2020 election. From federal investigations related to the January 6 Capitol attack to hush-money payments and the handling of classified documents, Trump’s legal woes are multifaceted. Despite his denial of any wrongdoing, the outcomes of these cases remain uncertain as they intersect with the 2024 election season.

Ex-Trump employee who moved boxes full of classified documents is now key witness in the Florida case

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Brian Butler, once an employee at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, has come forward with allegations that reveal significant security oversights regarding the handling and storage of government secrets. His testimony, given in an interview with CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, provides an insider’s perspective on the sequence of events that led to the indictment of the former president.

Unwitting Role in Transport of Classified Documents

Butler’s involvement in the transport of classified documents, as he recounted to CNN, was unwitting but critical. During June 2022, as federal investigators were engaging with Trump over the return of classified materials, Butler was assisting Walt Nauta, Trump’s aide and co-defendant, in moving boxes of these documents to Trump’s private plane. This occurred simultaneously with Trump’s meeting with investigators and his attorney, Evan Corcoran, at Mar-a-Lago. Butler, oblivious to the contents of the boxes, became an unwitting participant in a saga that has since captivated the nation’s attention. “I had no clue – I mean we were just taking them out … [and] piling them up,” Butler recounted, highlighting his unawareness of the significance of his actions at the time. The boxes, he remembers, were “all stacked on top of each other” before being handed over to the pilots.

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Speaking Out Amidst Trump’s Campaign for a Second Term

Butler, identified as “Trump Employee 5” in a criminal indictment against Trump and Nauta, said he felt compelled to speak out about his experiences amid Trump’s campaign for a second term in the White House. Echoing the concerns of other former employees, Butler expressed his belief that Trump is not fit to be a presidential candidate, stating, “I just don’t believe that he should be a presidential candidate at this time… I think it’s time to move on.”

Encounters and Pressure

Butler recalled seeing Trump as he prepared to meet his attorney and FBI agents, a moment that highlights the former president’s personal involvement in the events under scrutiny. “I remember he said hi to me. ‘Hi, Brian.’ ‘Hi Mr. Trump,’ or ‘President Trump.’ And then he went in and talked to them, but I had no clue who those people were,” Butler said, painting a picture of his proximity to the unfolding legal drama.

Following the indictment, Butler experienced a pressure campaign, with offers of Trump-aligned lawyers and attempts by others involved to include him in a collective narrative of responsibility. Carlos De Oliveira, another co-defendant and Butler’s former close friend, was specifically mentioned as attempting to persuade Butler that they were all complicit in moving the boxes, despite Butler’s insistence that he was unaware of their significance.

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Alarming Security Concerns

Beyond his inadvertent involvement in moving classified documents, Butler raised alarming concerns about the security at Mar-a-Lago. He noted that “anybody” could easily gain access to the rooms where classified documents were stored, pointing to “definitely a lot of gaps where people could get in very easily.” This revelation is particularly concerning given the gravity of the documents in question and underscores the potential risks posed by such lax security measures.

Butler, who had oversight responsibilities for Mar-a-Lago’s valet service until November 2022, described how he could have used a master key to access various parts of the property, including the ballroom, bathroom, and storage room where the now-infamous records were kept. Although he did not explicitly state he accessed these areas, the implication that it was possible speaks volumes about the security protocols in place.

Donald Trump, who has pleaded not guilty to charges of improperly retaining government secrets after leaving office, faces more than 90 counts across various criminal cases. These include allegations of subverting the 2020 electoral defeat and making hush-money payments.

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As Trump’s legal battles continue, with a trial potentially delayed until after the 2024 election, Butler’s willingness to testify and share his experiences offers an insight on the events at Mar-a-Lago and will likely play an important role in the outcome of the case. The charges against Nauta and De Oliveira for conspiring to obstruct justice only add to the complexity of a case that has significant implications for national security, presidential accountability, and the rule of law in the United States. Trump, Nauta and De Oliveira have all pleaded not guilty.

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