A witness in the criminal case against Donald Trump, accused of hoarding classified documents, has retracted their previous false testimony and provided new information that implicates the former president, according to the justice department. The witness, identified as the director of information technology at Mar-a-Lago, a Trump staffer, initially stated to a grand jury in Washington that they could not recall any conversations about security footage. However, after switching lawyers last month, the witness received a new attorney from the federal defender’s office and provided the justice department with information that helped form the basis of an updated indictment against Trump, his valet, and another defendant. The new indictment accuses them of a plot to delete surveillance video at the Florida property.
In a court filing, prosecutors explained that the witness’s original attorney may have had a conflict of interest due to representing others in the investigation, prompting the witness to seek new legal representation. The defense lawyer in question, Stanley Woodward, also represents Trump’s valet. Prosecutors stated that correcting the witness’s false testimony would incriminate Woodward’s other client, while leaving the false testimony uncorrected would leave the witness vulnerable to perjury charges. The justice department sought a hearing in Florida to address the potential conflicts of interest involving Woodward.
The justice department also addressed its use of grand juries in both Washington and Florida. They explained that despite filing charges in Florida, they continued to use the Washington grand jury to investigate potential false statements made by witnesses in Washington. The Washington grand jury has completed its term.
A trial has been scheduled for 20 May 2024 for the classified documents case. Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges and has denied any wrongdoing. Apart from this case, Trump is facing other legal proceedings, including one related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results, a criminal case in Georgia involving attempts to subvert the state’s vote, and a case in New York regarding hush-money payments to a porn actor.