Yuscil Taveras, the seemingly “good guy” working for Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago — an IT specialist who wouldn’t erase the video, and someone who was referenced as “Witness Four” in the superseding indictments — has now received his own target letter from the DOJ.
It appears that Taveras will be charged by the DOJ after all.
The timing is certainly odd, coming just days after the superseding indictment, which included two other Mar-a-Lago employees involved with the boxes of documents.
Taveras oversaw Mar-a-Lago’s surveillance system, which watched over the all-important boxes and files that were seemingly moved all over the property.
Unlike Walt Nauta, Trump’s long-time Mar-a-Lago property manager and co-defendant, and the newly indicted maintenance worker Carlos De Oliveira, Taveras hadn’t been charged in the case of the files.
The target letter from the DOJ comes as an explosive surprise.
Taveras is on video saying he wouldn’t erase the 19 hours that Trump wanted. He didn’t know how and didn’t believe that they had the right to do it.
But as CNN reports:
“Smith’s team had previously heard testimony about odd conversations between Taveras, Nauta and De Oliveira regarding surveillance footage. The grand jury in Washington, before the case was fully relocated to southern Florida, had also heard testimony specifically regarding De Oliveira’s unusual behavior toward the footage, three people told CNN.”
As we have all learned by now, a target letter is sent only after the prosecutor has all the evidence needed to prosecute the recipient and gives him or her one last chance to speak to the grand jury.
Virtually no one ever does.
As to the surprise that Taveras received the letter, there is certainly a lot we don’t know. We know that Taveras sounded like the level-headed hero who refused to erase the video, but we don’t know what else Taveras might have done.
Additionally, we don’t know what crime Smith might prosecute. It may be a relatively minor one.
There is also always the chance that Taveras is easily guilty of that minor charge and Smith wants to motivate Taveras further, to talk about the entire history, holding something over Taveras’s head.
There is one last curious aspect to the story.
Taveras only released the announcement that he received a target letter through his attorney.
It is possible that other target letters have been sent out over the last few months to people we never learned about. Perhaps the letters led attorneys to get together and make deals, and indictments were never filed.
It will be very interesting when we read Taveras’s indictment (assuming it comes.)
It would be even more interesting to know what Jack Smith is thinking and what might be his next move from the DOJ.
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at @JasonMiciak
Editor’s Note: This is an opinion piece reflecting the opinion of the author alone