Mar-a-Lago tech director retracts testimony in Trump obstruction case

The latest court filing in former President Donald Trump’s documents case traced added charges to one employee’s trade in legal counsel and a flip in testimony.

Late last month, a superseding indictment added Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos De Oliveira and additional obstruction counts in the case alleging the president had mishandled documents marked classified.

Tuesday, special counsel Jack Smith submitted a new filing in the Florida case that outlined how the resort’s IT director Yuscil Taveras, identified by numerous outlets to be “Trump Employee 4,” had retracted earlier claims after his representation was changed from the Trump-funded Stanley Woodward to a lawyer from the Federal Public Defender’s Office.

“Immediately after receiving new counsel, Trump Employee 4 retracted his prior false testimony and provided information that implicated [Walt] Nauta, De Oliveira, and Trump in efforts to delete security camera footage, as set forth in the superseding indictment,” submitted Smith.

Taveras had originally testified before the D.C. grand jury in March when he was represented by Woodward, the same attorney representing Trump’s co-defendant Nauta and others. Following the June indictment of Trump, new subpoenas for footage were issued and the witness had been informed that he was being investigated for alleged perjury.

By July 5, the witness had “informed Chief Judge Boasberg that he no longer wished to be represented by Mr. Woodward and that, going forward, he wished to be represented by the First Assistant Federal Defender,” leading to his retracted testimony.

“The Government anticipates calling Trump Employee 4 as a trial witness and expects that he will testify to conduct alleged in the superseding indictment regarding efforts to delete security footage,” the filing stated. “Trump Employee 4 will very likely face cross-examination about his prior inconsistent statements in his grand jury testimony, which occurred while Mr. Woodward represented him, and which he disavowed immediately after obtaining new counsel.”

Smith’s filing was part of his justification to Judge Aileen Cannon who had demanded an explanation from the special counsel as to his use of a D.C. grand jury for a Florida case. Earlier this month she had given him until Aug. 22 to respond and wrote, “The Special Counsel states in conclusory terms that the supplement should be sealed from public view ‘to comport with grand jury secrecy,’ but the motion for leave and the supplement plainly fail to satisfy the burden of establishing a sufficient legal or factual basis to warrant sealing the motion and supplement.”

In his own filing last week, Woodward had contended that the new testimony from Taveras should not be included on the grounds that it had come from that out-of-district grand jury. “The exercise of this Court’s supervisory power is warranted to exclude Trump Employee 4’s testimony as a remedy for the improper use of out-of-district proceedings or, at the least, to allow discovery with regard to this matter. Such relief would comport with measures taken in similar instances of perceived or potential grand jury abuse.”

Smith maintained that it was “entirely proper” as the investigation had stemmed from the D.C. grand jury.


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