House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan has fired off a letter to special counsel Jack Smith requesting documents and materials after being accused of using illicit pressure tactics in his investigation and indictments of former President Donald Trump.
The Ohio Republican demanded materials relating to claims that one of Smith’s senior prosecutors “allegedly improperly pressured Stanley Woodward, a lawyer representing a defendant indicted by you.”
The charges of impropriety come from a meeting between Jay Bratt and Woodward, the latter of whom represents Trump aide Walt Nauta in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case. Bratt allegedly pressured Woodward “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,” the letter said, according to The Western Journal.
Jordan set a Sept. 21 deadline for Smith to comply with the chairman’s request.
“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 said in the letter, which was obtained by Just the News.
“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,’” the letter continued.
Then, Bratt allegedly “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.”
Afterward, Woodward broke off all communications with the Justice Department and said no discussions would be forthcoming unless his client, Nauta, was charged or given an immunity deal.
Jordan alleged in his letter, however, that Smith’s team did not stop there.
“After Mr. Woodward declined to give in to Mr. Bratt’s intimidation and coercion, Mr. Bratt once again sought to induce Mr. Nauta’s cooperation by attacking Mr. Woodward’s representation. On August 2, 2023, Mr. Bratt filed a motion in Mr. Nauta’s case raising alleged conflicts of interests presented by Mr. Woodward’s representation of two other witnesses “who could be called to testify at a trial in the case involving classified documents at Mar-a-Lago,’” the letter says.
“He further suggested that the court should ‘procure independent counsel’ to be present at the hearing ‘to advise Mr. Woodward’s clients regarding the potential conflicts.’ Mr. Woodward’s reply brief stated that Mr. Bratt’s intimidation threats were merely ‘an attempt to diminish the Court’s authority over the proceedings in this case and to undermine attorney-client relationships without any basis specific to the facts of such representation,’” the letter added.
That may be crucial, Just the News noted, because Woodard initially represented Yuscil Taveras, an IT staffer at Mar-a-Lago.
Following a conversation with a public defender, Taveras opted to become a state’s witness, a decision that spared him from facing a perjury charge. The move, as reported by The Hill, resulted in the inclusion of further charges in Trump’s indictment.
Jordan demanded that Smith’s office provide information in three areas regarding Woodward.
“All documents and communications referring or relating to any appointment, meeting, or other visit by Mr. Woodward to the Justice Department, including the Office of the Special Counsel, concerning the representation of Mr. Nauta,” he wrote.
“All documents and communications between or among the Office of the Special Counsel, the Office of the Attorney General, or the Office of the Deputy Attorney General referring or relating to Mr. Woodward and his representation of individuals involved in the matters before you,” he added.
And finally: “All documents and communications referring or relating to Mr. Woodward’s application to fill a vacancy on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.”