Mar 11, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Ex-Mar-a-Lago employee: Trump classified docs case "is not a witch hunt"

A screenshot of Trump's former Mar-Lago valet Brian Butler during his interview on CNN.

A screenshot of Trump's former Mar-a-Lago valet Brian Butler during his interview on CNN/"The Source with Kaitlan Collins"

A former Mar-a-Lago employee told CNN Monday he had "no clue" that boxes he helped move at former President Trump's estate potentially contained classified documents.

Why it matters: Brian Butler, who said he worked for Trump for 20 years, is a key witness in the classified documents case and prosecutors refer to him in court documents as "employee 5," CNN notes.

The big picture: Trump faces 40 charges in the Florida case — one of four criminal indictments the likely Republican presidential nominee faces.

What they're saying: "I think the American people have the right to know the facts, that this is not a witch hunt," Butler said during the interview.

  • He told CNN's Kaitlan Collins that De Oliveira was his "best friend" and it "hurts" they no longer have contact due to the criminal investigation.
  • "I felt like it was a total no-win situation for me," said Butler, noting he was worried he might get De Oliveira into trouble.
  • For Trump "to get up there all the time and say the things he says about ... this being a witch hunt and everything ... he just can't take responsibility for anything," he added.
  • Representatives for Trump did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.
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