Carlos De Oliveira: From Mar-a-Lago's property manager to Trump co-defendant

Carlos De Oliveira.
Carlos De Oliveira. Chandan Khanna / AFP via Getty Images
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Carlos De Oliveira was thrust into the spotlight once he became a co-defendant in former President Donald Trump's classified documents case.

De Oliveira, 56, is the property manager at Mar-a-Lago, Trump's residence and private club in Palm Beach, Florida. In June, Trump was charged with 37 federal counts related to his handling of classified material at Mar-a-Lago, including conspiracy to obstruct justice. His valet, Walt Nauta, was also charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice, as well as five other counts.

In a superseding indictment unsealed on July 27, additional charges were filed against Trump, including attempting to alter, destroy, mutilate, or conceal evidence, and a new defendant was named: De Oliveira. He is accused of lying to the FBI about seeing boxes being moved at Mar-a-Lago, and of asking a Mar-a-Lago IT employee to delete security camera footage sought by the Department of Justice as part of its investigation into Trump's handling of classified material. The indictment alleges that De Oliveira told the employee "the boss" wanted the footage erased.

Moving up the Mar-a-Lago ladder

A Portuguese immigrant, De Oliveira lives in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, where neighbors described him to WPTV as "a nice guy who kept to himself and played golf." He has worked at Mar-a-Lago since the early 2000s, starting off as a handyman and valet. Over the last decade, he received multiple promotions, including landing a full-time spot on the maintenance team, and became Mar-a-Lago's property manager in early 2022, The New York Times reported.

Several members of Trump's inner circle did not know who De Oliveira was before the superseding indictment was unsealed, CNN reported. After the FBI came to Mar-a-Lago in the summer of 2022 and took away around 100 classified documents, questions began to swirl about De Oliveira, and the indictment states that Nauta approached another Trump employee and asked if De Oliveira was "good." The individual responded in a Signal message that De Oliveira was "loyal." Later that day, Trump called De Oliveira and said he'd get him an attorney.

De Oliveira made his first court appearance on July 31, and because he does not have local representation, did not enter a plea; his arraignment is scheduled for August 10. His attorney, John Irving, is in Washington, D.C., and his legal bills are being covered by Trump's Save America PAC, with Susie Wiles, a Trump political adviser, signing off on the checks.

'He got trapped'

Stephanie Grisham served as one of Trump's White House press secretaries, and told CNN she does not believe De Oliveira will testify against the former president. "I think he chooses and selects vulnerable people to surround him — and I'm putting myself in that group, by the way," she said. De Oliveira is still a Mar-a-Lago employee, and with Save America footing his legal bills, it won't be easy for him to extricate himself from Trump. "You get out into that world without the Trump cushion and it's very scary and it's not very friendly, I've got to tell you," Grisham said. "I think it's a very basic necessity of survival that somebody like Carlos wouldn't turn on Trump."

People who know De Oliveira are sympathetic to his plight, with a relative telling CNN, "The family feels like he got trapped." His landlord expressed surprise that De Oliveira has become ensnared in the case, since he's "not the type of guy who would break the law," he said. "I don't think he's that type."

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