It’s official: A Mar-a-Lago witness and former Donald Trump employee has a cooperation agreement with the government – Yuscil Taveras, who last month abruptly changed his testimony and changed lawyers, has struck a cooperation deal with prosecutors.
Donald Trump Has a New Legal Problem
Back in August, it was reported that a man who had worked in IT at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate abruptly changed his grand jury testimony, switched attorneys, and implicated Donald Trump in wrongdoing in the federal classified documents case.
The witness had appeared before a grand jury in July, with his testimony leading to a superseding indictment with additional charges, although the story of the testimony was not told until the following month.
The man, who has been identified in news accounts as Yuscil Taveras but is described in court documents as “Trump Employee 4,” has formally reached a cooperation agreement with federal prosecutors.
According to CNN, Taveras’ former attorney has revealed that Taveras has entered into a cooperation agreement with the special counsel’s office. The filing shows, per CNN, that Taveras “agreed to testify in the classified documents case and in exchange will not be prosecuted.”
Taveras was not charged with a crime before the agreement, although there’s a decent chance he would have been. It was known previously that he testified, but not that he had reached a full cooperation agreement.
In addition to Trump, valet Walt Nauta and Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos de Oliveira are charged with crimes in the documents case, with de Oliveira only charged in the superseding indictment. Taveras’ testimony reportedly implicated Trump and the other two codefendants in a scheme to erase Mar-a-Lago security footage.
Per Reuters, Taveras is likely to testify at trial.
It Gets Even More Interesting
At issue, per CNN, is that Stanley Woodward, the attorney who formerly represented Taveras, currently represents Nauta, and prosecutors have said that he may then have a conflict of interest if he were to cross-examine his own former client.
Woodward also said in the filing that he “played no role” in the cooperation agreement Taveras reached with the government and that the deal was not reached until after the witness had changed lawyers. Politico had stated that Taveras’ new attorney came from the federal defender’s office.
“Woodward has not opposed the request for U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who is presiding over the case, to hold a hearing on the issue,” Reuters said. “But he suggested in Wednesday’s filing that prosecutors’ handling of the IT manager’s testimony was improper.”
Taveras remains the only individual in any of the four criminal cases against Trump who is known to have “flipped” on the former president, although there has been much speculation that some of the 18 codefendants in the Georgia RICO case might decide to cooperate against Trump.
The Wall Street Journal, on Wednesday, looked at the question of which of the defendants in the Georgia case might cooperate against Trump. Some of the defendants have developed different legal strategies from that of Trump, although no one as of yet has fully turned on him.
“People who are lower on the chain—who had minor roles in the conspiracy—those people might cut a deal,” said Christopher Timmons, a former prosecutor in Georgia who has worked on RICO cases, told the Journal.
“Eastman is not going to make a deal,” attorney Harvey Silverglate, who represents indicted attorney John Eastman in the Georgia case, told the Journal. “He’s not going to offer to lie about somebody else in order to get out of trouble.”
Meanwhile, The Messenger reported Thursday that Trump is planning to host a $1 million “family style” fundraiser to raise money for his codefendants. The “candlelit” event has not yet been scheduled and details remain to be worked out, with the Patriot Legal Defense Fund and Save America PAC operating “in tandem.”
“Save America wasn’t really designed as a legal defense fund, so as the legal landscape evolved, so did this effort,” a Trump official told The Messenger. “The fact is that the Department of Justice is trying to bankrupt people and make them drown under legal bills, but Donald Trump is not going to let them.”
Author Expertise and Experience:
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @StephenSilver, and subscribe to his Substack newsletter.