Mar-a-Lago Documents

Post: Perjury, Obstruction, and the Mar-a-Lago Documents Prosecution

mar-a-lago documents

Yuscil Taveras wasn’t into politics; he was a computer geek. He had a secure, comfortable job as the director of information technology at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. He was the IT guy, a loyal, hardworking employee who kept a low profile.

Then one day, the FBI came calling. Taveras had been drawn into the Mar-a-Lago documents case.

Don’t Lie to the FBI

Prosecutors suspected Trump of hiding classified documents that he unlawfully removed from the White House when he left office in 2021. The government had been asking Trump to return all the material for months, finally getting a court order for him to do so, but authorities had reason to believe that Trump had not fully complied.

Federal investigators learned that Mar-a-Lago employees and others had been moving boxes of documents in and out of a basement storage area. The area was under surveillance by security cameras, and federal agents wanted to look at that footage. They got a subpoena ordering Trump to turn over the footage. Prosecutors allege that shortly after hearing about the subpoena from his attorneys, Trump ordered aides to delete the video footage.

Mar-a-Lago Documents Prosecution

To carry out Trump’s order to delete the video evidence, a top aide, Carlos De Oliviera, went to see Yuscil Taveras. As the director of information technology at Mar-a-Lago, Taveras could make the evidence go away by pushing a few buttons.

The 45-year-old Taveras, who has a wife and two kids, said no. He wouldn’t do it.

That was certainly a smart move, but when Taveras was called to testify before a grand jury investigating the case, he denied knowing about the whole episode. His attorney at the time was being paid by Trump — and he was representing De Oliviera along with another Trump aide who was facing obstruction of justice and other charges in the Mar-a-Lago documents case.

Prosecutors pointed out to Taveras that his lawyer had a serious conflict of interest. The best chance any of the three defendants had to avoid a long stretch in prison was to come clean and turn state’s evidence. But if any one of the three did that, they would be testifying against the other two. Prosecutors suggested to Taveras that he might want to consider getting his own attorney — and then they told him that he was about to be indicted for perjury and making false statements to the FBI.

Then came a major turn in the Mar-a-Lago documents case. Encouraged by the judge in the case, Taveras got himself a new lawyer. He then agreed to testify for the prosecution. In exchange, Taveras would not be charged.

According to court filings, “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 Take Away from the Mar-a-Lago documents Case

One thing criminal defendants can learn from the Mar-a-Lago documents case is that when your life or liberty is at stake, your best friend is an aggressive and experienced criminal defense attorney working solely on your behalf. If you are one defendant among others in a criminal case, you have to look out for yourself.

As former United States attorney Chuck Rosenberg writes, “the rules generally provide defendants facing trial with two related incentives to plead guilty and to cooperate. First, they can get “credit” for accepting responsibility for their criminal conduct. Second, they can get “credit” for assisting in the investigation and prosecution of others, including by testifying truthfully at trial.”

If you are facing criminal charges, call 407-644-2466 for a free consultation with an Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney at the Rivas Law Firm. The sooner you speak with a skilled and aggressive lawyer, the better your chances of getting the best outcome in your case.

Criminal defense attorney The Rivas Law Firm