“Immediately after receiving new counsel, Trump Employee 4 retracted his prior false testimony and provided information that implicated Nauta, De Oliveira, and Trump in efforts to delete security camera footage, as set forth in the superseding indictment.”
You may recall that the federal Judge in the Florida case against Trump regarding national security documents and obstruction of justice on her own requested briefing on the propriety of the Special Counsel Jack Smith utilizing a grand jury in D.C. in connection with matters related to the Florida case. That briefing was to be part of whether a “Garcia” hearing was needed, which is something that takes place when a defense lawyer has a potential conflict of interest (e.g. representing a defendant and a witness), so that the defendant is made aware on the record in open court about the dangers of using a potentially conflicted lawyer.
No one really knew why the Judge raised the issue. Now we know. There were documents filed by DOJ under seal about developments with a witness in the Florida case that occurred as part of a D.C. grand jury investigation.
In this case, a lawyer for co-defendant Nauta also represented Witness No. 4, you guessed it, in connection with testimony given to the D.C. Grand Jury. Witness number 4 apparently denied that Trump or Nauta were involved in an attempt to delete Mar-a-Lago security video that was under subpoena.
In a court filing today on the issue of the D.C. Grand Jury and the need for a Garcia hearing, Special Counsel Jack Smith asserted in papers that Witness 4 has flipped on Trump and will give evidence of Trump’s involvement (emphasis added):
During these investigations, the Government gathered evidence that Trump employee Carlos De Oliveira tried to enlist the director of information technology for Mar-a-Lago (identified in the superseding indictment as Trump Employee 4) to delete Mar-a-Lago security footage after the grand jury in the District of Columbia had issued a subpoena for the footage. As set forth in the Government’s motion for a Garcia hearing (ECF No. 97 at 3), before Trump Employee 4’s appearance before the grand jury in the District of Columbia, the Government informed Mr. Woodward that his concurrent representation of Trump Employee 4 and Nauta raised a potential conflict of interest, and Mr. Woodward responded that he did not have a reason to believe that his concurrent representation of Trump Employee 4 and Nauta raised a conflict of interest.
When Trump Employee 4 testified before the grand jury in the District of Columbia in March 2023, he repeatedly denied or claimed not to recall any contacts or conversations about the security footage at Mar-a-Lago. In testimony before the same grand jury, De Oliveira likewise denied any contact with Trump Employee 4 regarding security footage. The Government’s evidence indicated that the testimony by Trump Employee 4 and De Oliveira was false.
On June 8, 2023, a grand jury in this district returned a 38-count indictment that charged Trump with unlawful retention of national defense information and charged Trump and Nauta with obstruction-of-justice offenses. The indictment did not name De Oliveira as a defendant or contain charges regarding the efforts to delete security footage. The Government thereafter continued to investigate the false statements by Trump Employee 4 and De Oliveira in the District of Columbia. On June 29 and July 11, 2023, the grand jury issued two subpoenas for footage from three security cameras at Mar-a-Lago that related directly to De Oliveira’s solicitation of Trump Employee 4 to delete security footage, as well as the false denials of the same by both witnesses. In addition, on June 20, 2023, the Government advised Trump Employee 4 (through Mr. Woodward) that he was the target of a grand jury investigation in the District of Columbia into whether he committed perjury there, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1623. Trump Employee 4’s criminal exposure identified in the target letter was entirely due to his false sworn denial before the grand jury in the District of Columbia that he had information about obstructive acts that would implicate Nauta (and others).
The target letter to Trump Employee 4 crystallized a conflict of interest arising from Mr. Woodward’s concurrent representation of Trump Employee 4 and Nauta. Advising Trump Employee 4 to correct his sworn testimony would result in testimony incriminating Mr. Woodward’s other client, Nauta; but permitting Trump Employee 4’s false testimony to stand uncorrected would leave Trump Employee 4 exposed to criminal charges for perjury. Moreover, an attorney for Trump had put Trump Employee 4 in contact with Mr. Woodward, and his fees were being paid by Trump’s political action committee (PAC)….
Chief Judge Boasberg made available independent counsel (the First Assistant in the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the District of Columbia) to provide advice to Trump Employee 4 regarding potential conflicts. On July 5, 2023, Trump Employee 4 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. Immediately after receiving new counsel, Trump Employee 4 retracted his prior false testimony and provided information that implicated Nauta, De Oliveira, and Trump in efforts to delete security camera footage, as set forth in the superseding indictment.
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. 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.
The rest of the filing concerns the propriety of using the D.C. grand jury.
Witness 4 has changed his testimony, so that will subject him to cross-examination as to whether he was lying then, or lying now. Happens frequently in criminal cases. But this is still a very significant development particularly if the feds have other proof that Witness 4 is telling the truth now, and that he went along with the cover up because his lawyer was conflicted.
I’ve been saying since last March that the Mar-a-Lago case is the most direct and likely legal threat to Trump. Nothing I’ve seen so far leads me to think otherwise.DONATE
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