DOJ pressures Mar-a-Lago IT director to change testimony, flip on Trump

Special counsel Smith says Taveras will now be a key witness against Trump. 


The Mar-a-Lago IT director involved in classified documents indictment against President Donald Trump has flipped his testimony to implicate Trump. This about-face comes after the IT director was sent a target letter by Special Counsel Jack Smith.

Yuscil Taveras, who was said to be "Trump Employee 4" in the classified documents indictment in Mar-a-Lago, worked as the IT director at the former president's club.  

Taveras allegedly had a conversation with the head maintenance man at Mar-a-Lago, Carlos De Olivera, where the two discussed deleting camera footage at Mar-a-Lago and the order to do so came from "the boss."  

In addition, Trump's valet, Walt Nauta, is implicated in the indictment.  

Taveras "repeatedly denied or claimed not to recall any contacts or conversations about the security footage at Mar-a-Lago," the special counsel team alleged in court documents.  

However, Taveras flipped his testimony after a change in legal representation from Stanely Woodward to a public defender in Washington DC. special counsel Smith has now said that Taveras will be a key witness against Trump in the upcoming trial.  

In July, court documents alleged that Taveras changed his story and "retracted his prior false testimony and provided information that implicated Nauta, [Carlos] De Oliveira, and Trump in efforts to delete security camera footage."  

Woodward, the prosecutor fired by Taveras, was representing him alongside Nauta and De Oliveria. He wrote last week that Taveras' flipped testimony should not be able to be submitted to the court as it was obtained through "improper use of out-of-district proceedings" in Washington, DC, and the effort to use it as evidence reveals "nothing less than an attempt to diminish the [Florida] Court’s authority over the proceedings in this case." 

Smith and his team, with special counsel status, argued on Tuesday that the out-of-district testimony should still be submitted. The judge in the case.  

Assistant special counsel David Harbach dismissed Woodward's argument to exclude the testimony because doing so would help Woodward "gain a tactical advantage at trial by excluding highly incriminating evidence." 

Smith has suggested a start date for the trial on Jan. 2, 2024, just before the first caucus vote in Iowa.   

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