Jack Smith isn’t messing around


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Ever since Jack Smith brought a superseding Mar-a-Lago indictment against Donald Trump a few weeks ago, we’ve all known that “Trump employee 4” – a tech support guy named Yuscil Taveras – has been cooperating. We just didn’t know how Smith pulled that off. Now we do.

A new publicly visible court filing yesterday revealed that Yuscil Taveras originally gave false statements to investigators. At the time, Taveras was represented by the same attorney as Trump maintenance guy Carlos De Oliveira, who also gave false statements. So Smith told the courts that it was a conflict of interest, and the attorney was forced to withdraw from representing Taveras. At that point Taveras decided to flip.

It’s a pretty cold blooded move to get a defendant to flip by getting his attorney taken away from him. But Taveras did this to himself. He opened the door to this kind of move, and Jack Smith simply walked right through it, with the court’s blessing. And Taveras is now way better off with the immunity deal he ended up getting, than if he’d kept his old attorney and gotten indicted.

But these are the kinds of cold and calculating moves that prosecutors like Jack Smith have to be willing to make in order to take down vicious crime bosses like Donald Trump. It’s important to point out that Smith managed to get Taveras to flip by being ruthlessly smart, not by simply taking the most “aggressive” option he could think of. Defendants don’t flip because prosecutors yell and stomp their feet. Defendants flip because prosecutors figure out how to take away all their other options.

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