Trump Witness Tried to Warn Him About Mar-a-Lago Indictment

Former President Donald Trump in November 2021 was warned by someone in his inner circle that he would be indicted unless he returned sought-after materials to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), according to newly unsealed court documents in Trump’s federal classified documents case.

Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for the 2024 presidential election, faces 40 federal charges over his handling of sensitive materials recovered from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, after he left the White House in January 2021. The former president is accused of obstructing efforts by federal authorities to retrieve the documents and has pleaded not guilty to all charges, repeatedly saying that all counts filed against him spread across four criminal indictments are part of a “witch hunt.”

In January 2022, Trump returned 15 boxes of records of documents, which contained classified materials, to NARA. The former president was then subpoenaed to hand over all remaining classified materials, with the FBI visiting Mar-a-Lago in June of that year to gather them.

In August 2023, the FBI conducted a search of Trump’s Florida estate and seized more than 100 additional classified materials, including some marked “top secret.”

Newsweek reached out via email on Monday night to Trump’s representatives for comment.

Trump MAL Case
Former President Donald Trump on Monday speaks to the media in New York City. In newly unsealed court documents in Trump’s classified documents case, it was revealed that the former president was warned in November…

Victor J. Blue – Pool/Getty

The court documents unsealed on Monday were heavily redacted. A witness, identified as “Person 16,” was interviewed by the FBI on November 2, 2022. The witness refused recording of the probe “despite being advised that not recording the interview would be anomalous compared to other witness interviews,” according to the documents.

“Per. 16 accepted ‘that risk,’ stating having the interview recorded ‘was a far bigger risk for him in the Trump world,'” the documents state.

During the FBI interview, Person 16 described meeting with Trump at Mar-a-Lago on November 21, 2021, where the witness told the former president: “Whatever you have, give everything back. Let them come here and get everything. Don’t give them a noble reason to indict you, because they will.”

The informant told the FBI that Trump gave a “weird ‘you’re the man’ type of response.” He said that he walked away from the roughly 15-minute meeting with the impression that the former president would return the records to NARA.

Person 16 recalled that the meeting with Trump was interrupted by a Mar-a-Lago club member and a “much younger woman who boasted friends told her she looked like a young [redacted].” The witness said the pair took a photograph with Trump and that Person 16 declined to be in the picture.

“It was during this encounter Per. 16 thought to himself [Mar-a-Lago] was no place for these records,” the documents state, which added that the witness attempted to continue the meeting, but was not allowed to approach Trump again.

The witness recalled the “Kim Jong Un letters,” the “Obama letter,” and the “Hurricane map” as being specific records NARA was missing, according to the court exhibits. Person 16 told the FBI that “multiple people tried to convince” Trump to return the records.