A ‘coat hanger’ could unlock Mar-a-Lago storage room where Trump stored classified docs: Witness

Written by on April 27, 2024

Jeenah Moon-Pool/Getty Images

(NEW YORK)  — A coat hanger or “very tiny screwdriver” could be used to unlock the Mar-a-Lago storage room where former President Donald Trump stored highly classified documents for more than a year, according to a witness in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation.

The account was relayed to FBI agents by an unidentified aide to Trump in January 2023, according to newly released exhibits, and further undercuts claims by Trump that the highly-classified materials he’s accused of taking with him after leaving office were secured at all times.

The transcript of the interview was released as part of an ongoing effort by Trump and his co-defendants to make additional evidence gathered by Special Counsel Smith public.

Investigators were told by the witness that in summer of 2021 the storage room door had a knob “with a pinhole” that visitors could lock from the inside via a push button.

“Kind of like what you would find on a residential door inside of a home?” an FBI agent asked.

“So it might have a lock like that on one side of it then other side, rather than an actual place for a key,” an agent added.

“Yeah,” the witness said.

“–very tiny screwdriver?”

“Um-hmm,” the witness said.

The witness’ lawyer, John Irving, soon added, “Like when my kids lock themselves in the bathroom.”

“Yeah,” the witness said. “And then they’d pop it open.”

The revelation further bolsters concerns raised by Smith about the lack of security surrounding the documents while they were stored in Mar-a-Lago. In his indictment of Trump, he included photos showing boxes believed to have contained classified documents in a ballroom at the club as well as a bathroom.

Trump was indicted last June on 37 criminal counts related to his handling of classified materials after leaving the White House. Prosecutors said he repeatedly refused to return hundreds of documents containing classified information ranging from U.S. nuclear secrets to the nation’s defense capabilities and that he took steps to thwart the government’s efforts to get the documents back. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.

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