The Mar-a-Lago employee referenced in the superseding indictment adding major accusations against former President Donald Trump and a new co-defendant to the case has been identified by two people close to the investigation as Yuscil Taveras, an information technology worker.
Taveras oversaw the surveillance camera footage at the property.
An attorney for Taveras declined to comment when reached for comment by CNN.
Special counsel Jack Smith’s team had previously heard testimony about odd conversations between Taveras, Walt Nauta and the new co-defendant Carlos De Oliveira, the property manager, 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.
Taveras is at the center of the new accusations added to the indictment, including an exchange he had with De Oliveira on June 27, 2022. In that conversation, De Oliveira asked to have a private discussion in an “audio closet” with Taveras, including questioning how long the footage from the security tapes lasted and whether it could be deleted.
When Taveras said “he would not know how to do that, and that he did not believe that he would have the rights to do that,” De Oliveira said “the boss” wanted it deleted, according to the indictment.
Prosecutors for months now have circled around the questions of how much their actions day-by-day during the summer of 2022 were prompted by Trump’s direction, leading the criminal inquiry at times to look even into suspicious but still unexplained events like the draining of the pool at the Florida beach club, which caused flooding in an IT room, CNN previously reported.
De Oliveira was involved in the pool incident, two sources familiar with the matter tell CNN. It was not mentioned, however, in the new court filing. Thursday’s indictment signals that prosecutors now believe they have more direct evidence of Trump orchestrating his employees’ efforts to consider tampering with surveillance footage that captured them moving boxes of records the federal government sought.
De Oliveira is scheduled to be arraigned in Miami on Monday and now must add a Florida-based attorney to his defense.
The indictment notes that, following the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago last August, questions were raised about De Oliveira’s loyalty among Trump’s orbit. According to the indictment, Trump called De Oliveira “and told De Oliveira that Trump would get De Oliveira an attorney.”
He is currently represented by John Irving. Trump’s super PAC Save America has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to law firms that were ushering Nauta, De Oliveira and Taveras through the probe, including during times they spoke to the federal criminal investigators.
It isn’t clear yet how the new set of charges will affect those lawyer relationships.