"Sounds very much like organized crime": Witness in Trump's documents case recants false testimony

After obtaining new counsel, a witness retracted false testimony and provided information implicating Trump

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published August 22, 2023 7:36PM (EDT)

Donald Trump | Mar A Lago (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Donald Trump | Mar A Lago (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

In a filing made public Tuesday, special counsel Jack Smith told a federal court that a key witness in the Mar-a-Lago documents case has flipped, recanting previous testimony and implicating Donald Trump. 

Known in the indictment as Trump Employee 4, the witness is a Mar-a-Lago information technology worker. Yuscil Taveras, the director of information technology at Mar-a-Lago,  entered into the agreement after receiving a target letter from Smith in June warning him he was likely to be charged with perjury. In March, Smith said, Taveras gave false testimony. He changed his testimony regarding efforts to delete security camera footage at Trump's Florida club in July after switching from a lawyer paid for by Trump's Save America PAC to a public defender. He was previously being represented by Walt Nauta's lawyer Stanley Woodward. 

"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 court filings said.

We need your help to stay independent

Want a daily wrap-up of all the news and commentary Salon has to offer? Subscribe to our morning newsletter, Crash Course.

"Sounds very much like organized crime," wrote national security attorney Mark Zaid, reacting to the breaking news. 

Trump, Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira, a property manager at Mar-a-Lago, have all pleaded not guilty to all charges in the case. Taveras, for his part, is the first person known to have entered into such an agreement with Smith in either of Smith's investigations of Trump. Cassidy Hutchinson, a Trump White House staffer, flipped in the same manner — after switching to independent counsel on the eve of the Jan. 6 select committee hearings. Her previous lawyer had deep Trump World connections.


By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

MORE FROM Sophia Tesfaye

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Aileen Cannon Donald Trump Jack Smith Mar-a-lago