Prosecutors in Trump classified docs case plan to call digital forensics experts as witnesses

Federal prosecutors in special counsel Jack Smith’s office revealed in court filings Friday that they intend to call several FBI employees as expert witnesses in their case alleging former President Donald Trump mishandled classified documents.

The filing listed five witnesses who are described as experts in digital forensics or cellular analytics, with prosecutors indicating they’re expected to testify about the data and material extracted from devices and accounts belonging to Walt Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira, who were both accused of crimes alongside Trump. The experts are also expected to testify about extracted data related to the unnamed “Trump Employee 2.”

Trump was indicted in June 2023 on criminal charges related to classified documents that were discovered in 2022 at his Mar-a-Lago resort. He was later hit with a superseding indictment, which alleged that Trump was part of a plan to delete security video. Trump, Nauta and De Oliveira have all pleaded not guilty in the case.

This image, contained in the indictment against former President Donald Trump, shows boxes of records stored in a bathroom and shower in the Lake Room at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla. Trump is facing 37 felony charges related to the mishandling of classified documents according to an indictment unsealed Friday, June 9, 2023.
Boxes of records stored in a bathroom and shower in the Lake Room at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla.Justice Dept. via AP

The new filing references dates in the indictment, including June 27, 2022, when De Oliveira is alleged to have had a private conversation in an “audio closet” with another unnamed Trump employee. That employee has been identified by NBC News as Yuscil Taveras, the director of information technology at Mar-a-Lago, and Smith’s office said in a filing that he changed his initial testimony after switching lawyers.

During the alleged June 2022 conversation detailed in the superseding indictment, De Oliveira is said to have asked Taveras how long the server containing surveillance video from Mar-a-Lago retained footage, adding that “the boss” wanted it wiped. De Oliveira and Nauta spoke later that day, the indictment alleges.

The special counsel’s office plans to use expert testimony to discuss the events of June 27, 2022, Friday’s filing said, as well as content extracted from devices used by De Oliveira and Nauta.

Trump attorney Todd Blanche declined to comment on Friday’s filing.

The case is scheduled to go to trial in May, with Trump’s attorneys notifying the court on Friday that they plan to file numerous motions next week to compel discovery from the special counsel’s office.

One of those motions will seek an order “regarding the scope of the prosecution team” while others will request “tracking information relating to the handling of allegedly classified documents, damage assessments, and impeachment material relating to the conduct of the investigation.”

The case is one of many against Trump that’s set to go to trial this year while he seeks another term in the White House.