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Jim Jordan launches probe into 'abusive tactics' from Jack Smith's office

Woodward represents Walt Nauta, who has pleaded not guilty to all charges in Smith's probe.

Published: September 7, 2023 6:13pm

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan on Thursday informed special counsel Jack Smith that he was investigating an alleged incident in which an attorney in the special counsel's office appeared to entice an attorney representing a defendant in the Trump classified documents case to convince his client to cooperate with prosecutors.

"Last year, Jay Bratt—one of your senior prosecutors and top aides—allegedly improperly pressured Stanley Woodward, a lawyer representing a defendant indicted by you, by implying that the Administration would look more favorably on Mr. Woodward’s candidacy for a judgeship if Mr. Woodward’s client cooperated with the Office of the Special Counsel," Jordan wrote. "This attempt to inappropriately coerce Mr. Woodward raises serious concerns about the abusive tactics of the Office of the Special Counsel and the Department’s commitment to its mission to uphold the rule of law and ensure impartial justice."

Woodward represents Walt Nauta, who has pleaded not guilty to all charges in Smith's probe. Prior to indicting Nauta, prosecutors evidently sought his cooperation in the probe, which they were unable to obtain.

"In November 2022, when your prosecutors were trying to secure the cooperation of Walt Nauta—who is alleged to have 'move[d] boxes of documents' at Mar-a-Lago—prosecutors, including Mr. Bratt, summoned Mr. Woodward to a meeting at the Department’s headquarters for 'an urgent matter that they were reluctant to discuss over the phone,'" Jordan explained.

"When Mr. Woodward arrived, Mr. Bratt threatened him that Mr. Nauta should cooperate 'because he had given potentially conflicting testimony that could result in a false statement.' Mr. Bratt commented that he did not take Mr. Woodward as a 'Trump guy' and indicated that he was confident that Mr. Woodward 'would do the right thing,'" he continued. "Mr. Bratt referenced Mr. Woodward’s pending application for a judgeship on the D.C. superior court, implying that the Biden Administration would perceive Mr. Woodward’s application more favorably if Mr. Nauta was a cooperating witness for the Special Counsel against President Trump."

Bratt subsequently filed a motion alleged a conflict of interest in Woodward representing both Nauta and other witnesses with potentially competing interests. Woodward also previously represented Yuscil Taveras, a Mar-a-Lago IT worker who recently agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Taveras opted to cooperate after speaking with a public defender, The Hill reported. His testimony led to a superseding indictment against Trump, Nauta, and Carlos de Oliveira that alleged the group attempted to delete relevant security footage.

Jordan noted that Bratt's motion followed Woodward's decision to cut off contact with the Department of Justice barring either the bringing of charges against his client or the brokerage of an immunity deal.

The Ohio Republican has asked that Smith provide him with documents and communications relating to his office's dealings with Woodward, internal communications about him, and any materials related to his application for a judgeship.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

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