The two will now be forever linked: the former president of the United States and the Navy sailor from Guam turned loyal body man, who operated in anonymity at the White House and later at Mar-a-Lago, fetching his boss’s coat and Diet Cokes and, yes, moving his boxes.

The United States of America v. Donald J. Trump – and Waltine Nauta.

The extraordinary indictment filed against the former president also includes six criminal charges against Nauta, the aide.

Nauta allegedly moved boxes filled with top secret government materials for Trump and then helped the former president hide them from federal officials who demanded them back.

And, as a result, Nauta will now share a page in history books – and, one day soon, quite possibly a defendants’ table in a courtroom – with the nation’s 45th president.

An attorney for Nauta declined to comment.


Nauta, 40, first encountered Trump at the dawn of his presidency at the White House, where Nauta had been serving in the military-staffed White House cafeteria, even before the 2016 election. Trump elevated him to the role of the White House military valet, a job that put him in proximity to the Oval Office, where he catered to Trump’s personal needs, among other duties.

After Trump left office in 2021, Nauta moved to Florida to continue to serve him at Mar-a-Lago, first during the waning days of his military service and later as a civilian employed by Trump’s political action committee.

Other Trump advisers have said he was known for his discretion and ability to stay out of messy Trumpworld squabbles.

Throughout the investigation, Nauta appeared never to turn on the former president – not even when FBI agents asked him where the boxes had been stored and whether Trump intentionally kept any when government officials tried to retrieve them.

“I wish, I wish I could tell you. I don’t know,” he allegedly told the FBI during a May 2022 interview, in what prosecutors said was a false statement in the 49-page indictment. “I don’t – I honestly just don’t know.”

On Friday morning, as the world learned of the indictments, Nauta was by his boss’s side at Trump’s Bedminster club in New Jersey, a person who was with both of them said.


Prosecutors have for months viewed Nauta as a critical witness in the investigation into possible mishandling of classified government materials at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida residence and private club. They’ve questioned the aide multiple times as they tried to piece together how and why the former president kept so many documents containing closely guarded American secrets – even after he government issued a subpoena last year ordering they be returned.

His lawyers have portrayed Nauta as a low-level employee who was just complying with his boss and moving boxes. They have previously told The Washington Post that he’s been cooperating with investigators and is not someone who should be charged with a crime.

But now, he may be paying the price for his loyalty to Trump. Nauta is charged alongside Trump with conspiracy to obstruct justice, withholding a document, concealing a document and scheming to conceal a material fact in a federal investigation. They are each charged with making false statements or causing false statement to be made to authorities. The charges are punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

“I have just learned that the ‘Thugs’ from the Department of Injustice will be Indicting a wonderful man, Walt Nauta, a member of the U.S. Navy, who served proudly with me in the White House, retired as Senior Chief, and then transitioned into private life as a personal aide,” Trump wrote on Truth Social on Friday morning, disclosing the news hours before the official court unsealing of charges.

Ryan Fayhee, a former counterespionage prosecutor with the Justice Department, said he could not recall a case alleging mishandling of classified information that involved such an “unbalanced relationship” of power and sophistication between co-defendants: an employer and employee, a president and junior military valet, the nation’s chief executive entrusted with its secrets and a “body man” who may or may not have had a security clearance.

Fayhee said that Nauta could still plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutors against Trump – but that the longtime loyal aide may also think he is better off tying his fate to that of his boss.


“Am I better off long-term sticking around and being loyal, or parting ways and saving my own skin? There’s going to be interest in him cooperating, and no doubt he’s going to do that analysis,” Fayhee said.

The detailed indictment shows that Nauta was at the center of action at Mar-a-Lago, as Trump allegedly worked to keep from turning over government documents first to the National Archives and later to the FBI.

Nauta was among the people who helped move the boxes from the White House to Mar-a-Lago in 2021, according to the indictment. About a year later, he discovered Trump’s boxes toppled over in a Mar-a-Lago storage room, the contents spilled on the floor. One of the stray documents was marked as “SECRET” and, investigators later determined, it was only permitted to be shared with five U.S. allies. “I opened the door and found this,” Nauta allegedly texted another Trump employee, sharing a photo of the documents on the floor, with the sensitive marking on the document visible.

That photo was included by prosecutors in the indictment, showing how Trump haphazardly stored clearly marked classified government materials at his Florida club.

It was Nauta whom Trump asked to help bring boxes from the storage room to his residence to review during late 2021 and early 2022, the indictment alleges, when employees later testified that Trump was scrambling to examine them before he returned government records to the National Archives, which had been demanding their return. Nauta reportedly told other workers at Mar-a-Lago that Trump was “tracking” the boxes.

Nauta then moved 15 boxes in his own car before putting them on a truck for delivery to the Archives, according to the indictment.


Nauta’s involvement continued even after the government issued its May 2022 subpoena demanding the documents be returned, according to the indictment. He allegedly helped Trump mislead a lawyer identified in the indictment as “Attorney 1” who was working to comply with the grand jury subpoena. People familiar with the matter say he is Trump lawyer Evan Corcoran.

Between a meeting with Trump and his attorneys on May 23, 2022, and June 2 – when Corcoran told Trump he planned to search a Mar-a-Lago storage room for documents responsive to the subpoena – Nauta could be seen on surveillance video removing 64 boxes and delivered them to Trump’s residential area, according to charging papers. He then could be seen returning boxes – but only 30, prosecutors said. Neither Trump nor Nauta told Corcoran that boxes had been removed, the indictment alleges.

At one point after the subpoena was issued, Nauta texted with an unidentified Trump relative and conveyed that the former president was sifting through the materials.

“Good afternoon Walt,” began the relative’s text message, which informed him that Trump could not put any boxes on a plane because it would be “full of luggage.”

Nauta’s formal military bearing, a trait well known by other Trump aides, came through in his respectful response.

“Good afternoon Ma’am [Smiley Face Emoji,]” Walt responded. “I think he wanted to pick from them. I don’t imagine him wanting to take the boxes.”


In an interview earlier this year in Guam, where Nauta was born and grew up, his aunt told The Post earlier this year that he has conveyed to family that he was following directions when he moved the boxes at Mar-a-Lago.

“He told his mom there’s nothing to worry about. He didn’t do anything wrong. All he was instructed was to put the boxes where they were supposed to go,” said Elly Nauta, who lives two doors down from Nauta’s mother.

Nauta has continued to tell Trump advisers that he is loyal to the former president, and that he wanted to work for Trump even as federal authorities circled him, Trump advisers said. He told them privately he had done nothing wrong – only moving boxes when Trump asked him to.

According to court records, both Nauta and Trump have been summoned to appear Tuesday at 3 p.m.

Before then, a Trump adviser said Nauta is likely to travel with Trump to Georgia, where the former president is scheduled to speak at the state’s Republican convention.

“Nothing has changed,” another Trump adviser said.

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