Former President Donald Trump allegedly shared potentially classified information regarding U.S. nuclear submarines with Australian businessman Anthony Pratt, according to sources familiar with the matter who spoke with ABC News and The New York Times.
The sources told ABC News—which was first to break the story—that Trump purportedly shared the information several months after leaving the White House in 2021 during a conversation at his Mar-a-Lago estate. Pratt, a billionaire and owner of the U.S.-based cardboard company Pratt Industries, is reportedly a member of Trump’s luxury club in Palm Beach, Florida.
After discovering this information, federal prosecutors investigating Trump’s handling of classified documents interviewed Pratt about the conversation, read the reports. The former president has been charged with 40 felony counts, including willful retention of national defense information, in connection to the Justice Department’s investigation of the classified documents discovered at his Mar-a-Lago estate in August 2022.
Newsweek could not independently verify the reports. An email has been sent to Trump’s press team and Pratt Industries seeking comment on Thursday night.
Sources close to the matter told ABC News that Pratt has been interviewed at least twice this year about his supposed conversation with Trump. The discussion reportedly arose after Pratt mentioned the American submarine fleet, read the report.
According to sources who spoke with the Times, Pratt also allegedly shared the sensitive information with several others, potentially endangering the U.S. nuclear fleet. ABC News claimed that Pratt “described Trump’s remarks” to at least 45 other people.
The report could play a key role in the Justice Department’s case against Trump, which is scheduled to head to trial in May. Pratt’s name and the alleged conversation are not mentioned in the criminal indictment that was released in June.
Prosecutors did describe other supposed conversations Trump had in the months following his presidency as part of their 49-page indictment, including an instance caught on tape between Trump and several guests at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. During the discussion, Trump reportedly shared a “highly confidential” Pentagon document about a potential attack on Iran with individuals who did not have security clearance.
Trump denies any wrongdoing in the federal charges against him, and has pleaded not guilty to all 40 counts stemming from the classified-documents case. Walt Nauta, Trump’s personal aide, and Carlos De Oliveira, property manager at Mar-a-Lago, were also charged in the investigation, with both pleading not guilty in August.
The former president is also facing federal charges in efforts to remain in power after losing the 2020 election, a racketeering case in Georgia, business fraud allegations in Manhattan and a $250M civil fraud lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
Trump has maintained his innocence in all investigations.