In a filing on Tuesday, prosecutors in the office of special counsel Jack Smith stated that a previous maintenance employee at Mar-a-Lago, who is currently being investigated as a crucial witness in an effort to hide evidence from the government, withdrew his testimony to the grand jury after changing attorneys.
In the beginning, the unidentified staff member, referred to as “Trump Employee 4” in the document but believed to be Yuscil Taveras, responsible for managing the security camera system at the club, initially stated to a grand jury that he had no knowledge of any effort to erase the security footage.
Taveras quickly reversed course, for another attorney offered up by the federal defender’s office in Washington, after dumping his lawyer, Stanley Woodward.
Taveras, along with his two alleged accomplices Trump, were implicated in attempts to erase security camera footage, according to the filing from Smith’s office. After obtaining new legal representation, Trump retracted his previous statement and shared information.
During his testimony before the grand jury, Taveras knew that he had committed perjury by indicating that he received a letter from Smith, who was the target of a criminal investigation. After coming to Smith’s office, Taveras made the decision to cooperate and switched lawyers, as ABC News informed sources familiar with the matter.
Under the terms of their agreement, Smith will not prosecute Taveras for perjury, in exchange for his truthful testimony on the allegations of obstruction.
One of the co-conspirators of former President Trump, the so-called “Diet Coke valet,” Walt Nauta, who has a number of connections to MAGA World, is being represented by attorney Woodward, who also has legal bills for Trump’s footed case.
When Taveras was still represented by Woodward earlier this month, prosecutors questioned whether the lawyer was facing a conflict of interest in the case, as many witnesses and defendants were also being confronted.
Nauta defends the idea that during the trial, Woodward could call Taveras as a witness, including at least two of his clients, as noted in the filing. They stated that Woodward had represented at least seven people who were interviewed by the probing prosecutors in August.
The purpose of Tuesday’s filing was to provide additional support for the prosecution’s case during a hearing. In this particular matter, Smith’s office requested Judge Aileen Cannon to conduct a “Garcia” hearing in the filing,
Prosecutors said that this error would be “unprecedented,” on Tuesday. Lawyers for the co-defendants strongly pushed back on the need for a hearing, suggesting an alternative route from Taveras bar might be necessary, while testifying.
They also reiterated that they still anticipate cross-examining Woodward about his prior false testimony, where he will “very likely” still stand, calling Taveras.
In the revised indictment, both Trump and Nauta were charged with additional obstruction allegations. Carlos de Oliveira, a manager of the Mar-a-Lago property, who was included in an updated indictment following Taveras’ change of position, is also facing charges in the case.
All three individuals have entered a plea of not guilty to all allegations in the lawsuit.
According to ABC News, Taveras refuted allegations that he had received guidance from anyone to provide inaccurate statements in that interview, as reported by sources. Taveras had a meeting with prosecutors only a week prior to the issuance of the revised indictment last month.
At Mar-a-Lago, it was unclear on Tuesday whether he continues to be employed. Driven by the apprehension of losing his position, Taveras allegedly expressed his reluctance to become further entangled in the matter. Instead, he stated.