Politics

Former Mar-a-Lago Worker Alters Testimony, Implicates Trump and Co-Conspirators in Evidence Concealment

A former maintenance worker formerly employed at Mar-a-Lago, who is now a significant figure under scrutiny as a potential key witness in a suspected attempt to hide evidence from the government, has retracted his testimony before a grand jury.

This retraction followed a change of legal representation, as stated by prosecutors from special counsel Jack Smith’s office in a filing on Tuesday.

The individual referred to as “Trump Employee 4” in the legal document but believed to be Yuscil Taveras, responsible for overseeing the club’s security camera system, initially informed the grand jury that he had no knowledge of any efforts to delete security camera footage.

However, upon switching legal representation from Stanley Woodward to a new attorney provided by the federal defender’s office in Washington, Taveras swiftly changed his stance.

As outlined in the filing by Smith’s office, Taveras retracted his previous testimony and instead offered information that implicated Donald Trump and two alleged collaborators in activities aimed at erasing security camera footage.

Sources familiar with the situation disclosed to ABC News that Taveras’ decision to change legal representation and cooperate with Smith’s office occurred after he received a target letter from Smith in June. The letter indicated that Smith was aware Taveras had committed perjury during his grand jury testimony, and it hinted at potential criminal charges.

In return for his truthful testimony concerning the obstruction allegations, Taveras was granted an agreement wherein Smith would refrain from prosecuting him for perjury.

One of the alleged co-conspirators, Walt Nauta, who was referred to as Trump’s “Diet Coke valet,” also had legal representation from Woodward. This attorney, with strong connections to MAGA circles, had his legal fees for the case covered by Trump’s Save America PAC.

Earlier this month, while still represented by Woodward, Taveras’ legal team faced questions from prosecutors about potential conflicts of interest due to Woodward’s multiple defendants and witnesses in the case.

In an August 2 filing, prosecutors highlighted that Woodward had represented at least seven individuals questioned by prosecutors in the case, and at least two of them, including Taveras, might be called as government witnesses during the trial. This situation could lead to Woodward cross-examining his own clients while defending Nauta.

Smith’s office, through the recent filing, requested Judge Aileen Cannon to hold a “Garcia” hearing on the matter, further strengthening the prosecution’s argument for the hearing.

Lawyers representing the co-defendants vehemently opposed the necessity of such a hearing and suggested the option of preventing Taveras from testifying altogether.

Prosecutors countered this stance by labeling such a move as “unprecedented” and emphasized their intention to still call Taveras to the stand, where he will likely be cross-examined by Woodward regarding his previous false testimony.

Carlos de Oliveira, a property manager at Mar-a-Lago, has also been charged in the case. He was included in an updated indictment following Taveras’ change of heart.

Trump and Nauta are facing new obstruction charges in the amended indictment. All three individuals have pleaded not guilty to the charges in the case.

Taveras met with prosecutors just a week prior to the issuance of the amended indictment last month. During this meeting, Taveras denied being influenced by anyone to provide false testimony and cited his reluctance to become further entangled in the case due to the fear of losing his job. As of Tuesday, it remains unclear whether he is still employed at Mar-a-Lago.

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