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‘He Works for Him Still’: Donald Trump Is Still Paying the Employee Who Flipped On Him

Donald Trump
President of the United States Donald Trump speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Image by: Gage Skidmore.

IT employee who is cooperating against Donald Trump still works at Mar-a-Lago: Yuscil Taveras, who this summer agreed to cooperate with the government and testify against Donald Trump and his codefendant, remains employed at the former president’s resort. 

The Donald Trump Drama Keeps Getting Stranger 

The New York Times over the weekend published a profile of Yuscil Taveras, the IT director at former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida who has agreed to cooperate against the former president. In the federal documents case, Taveras reached a cooperation agreement in which has testified that he was directed to delete surveillance video that had been requested by prosecutors. 

The profile contained a surprising detail: Taveras “continues to work at Mar-a-Lago.” That could be cause for an awkward situation, although Donald Trump himself spends more time at Bedminster than Mar-a-Lago this time of year. 

The piece in the Times also looked at the story of how Taveras came to become a witness against the former president. 

In June of 2022, the IT specialist “confided in an office mate that another colleague had just asked him, at Mr. Trump’s request, to delete the footage that investigators were seeking.” After that, Taveras told more people and the story spread. Later, word reached Trump Tower itself, where bosses at the Trump Organization warned him not to delete anything.

The story also said that while Taveras “did not fully recount the incident” in his initial grand jury testimony, a threat by prosecutors resulted in Taveras agreeing to cooperate. This entailed switching lawyers, from one paid by a Donald Trump-affiliated political action committee to one from the federal defender’s office. 

Taveras’ shift in testimony led to a superseding indictment that added charges against Trump as well as his codefendant Walt Nauta; also charged was Carlos De Oliveira, Mar-a-Lago’s property manager, who prosecutors say was the one who directly ordered Taveras to delete the footage. 

The Times story also got into how exactly the request to delete the security footage went. 

In June of 2022, prosecutors subpoenaed months of Mar-a-Lago security footage. This led De Oliveira to contact Taveras and tell him that Nauta “needs you for something.” 

A few days later, per the indictment,  De Oliveira told Taveras that “the boss” wanted the footage to be deleted, although he refused to at the time. The footage was never actually deleted, especially after the Trump Organization’s security and legal departments were made aware of the request. 

Per the Times, “Mr. Taveras’s testimony could be crucial to proving that Mr. Trump, Mr. Nauta, and Mr. De Oliveira were conspiring to obstruct the investigation.”

Stanley Woodward, who formerly represented Taveras, also represents Nauta, and prosecutors have hinted that he may have a conflict of interest for that reason, per a Politico report. 

“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 reported last week. “But he suggested in Wednesday’s filing that prosecutors’ handling of the IT manager’s testimony was improper.”

While Taveras is the only person in the four active criminal cases against Trump to officially enter a prosecution agreement, there has been much speculation that some of the co-defendants, especially in the Georgia RICO case, could also agree to cooperate against the former president. 

“People who are lower on the chain—who had minor roles in the conspiracy—those people might cut a deal,” Christopher Timmons, a former prosecutor in Georgia who has worked on RICO cases, told the Journal, told the Wall Street Journal in a story last week. 

Trump, in addition to a fundraiser he held last week for codefendant Rudy Giuliani, is planning a separate “family style” fundraiser to raise money for the larger group of codefendants, The Messenger reported last week. It’s not clear when that fundraiser might happen, but it will be run through the Patriot Legal Defense Fund and Save America PAC. 

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.

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Stephen Silver is a journalist, essayist, and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, 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. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.