Waltine “Walt” Nauta, known for his role as President Donald J. Trump’s personal White House valet, is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday, July 6th, over his role in the federal classified documents case. And if the scandalous story is true about Nauta’s attorney getting hassled by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and threatened, we may see a different Trump situation unfold soon.
If the Department of Justice is genuinely committed to the open and transparent treatment of this case, one journalist is stating upon his investigation a special counsel should be empowered to investigate the actions of alleged misconduct by Jack Smith.
Getting to the July 6th date has been a trying situation for Trump’s codefendant. Here is what has happened up to this point:
At the end of June, Nauta’s attorney, Stanley Woodward, told the court that Nauta hadn’t found an attorney authorized to practice in the South Florida District and requested an extension until July 6. Magistrate Judge Edwin Torres granted the extension, saying, “You need to try to have that be your drop-dead deadline.”
That day, Woodward described the situation saying that Nauta was at Newark Liberty International Airport for eight hours — where numerous flights were delayed because of thunderstorms and flash-flood warnings in the area and that he could not get a flight in time for his court appearance.
Torres ruled that Nauta had “good cause” for not appearing in person. He set the new arraignment date for July 6 after Jay Bratt, a prosecutor for the Department of Justice, noted that the arraignment should occur before a pre-trial hearing set for July 14.
Woodward said that Nauta wasn’t likely to appear in person on July 6 because of “logistical hurdles” that he didn’t explain and said a local counsel would appear instead. Torres said that Nauta’s legal team would have to file paperwork about his representation on July 5.
And now we find out there is even more trouble for the government’s case against Trump, and Bratt may have tried to destroy Nauta’s chances of having an attorney, which is outrageous.
Trump’s “body man,” as Nauta would become known, entered the Navy as a cook and rose to the rank of culinary specialist; 40-year-old Nauta was assigned to presidential food service in 2012 and established a good enough relationship with Trump to become his permanent valet.
According to the Guardian, when Trump’s term ended in January 2021, Nauta followed the ex-president to Florida.
Nauta is now facing six federal charges, including conspiracy to obstruct justice, corruptly concealing a document or record, and making false statements, over his alleged role in the classified documents case.
According to the government, it is their case that Nauta moved boxes from the White House and then repeatedly moved them again at Trump’s direction at Mar-a-Lago, and then, the DOJ claims he lied about moving boxes to investigators.
News reports show that he is fascinating to watch for another reason the whole case against Trump may get tossed out upon examination of what happened to his lawyer when the lawyer was threatened with being unable to move up to judgeship if he continued to represent his client.
“Lost in the breathless headlines over the indictment of President Trump for alleged violations of the Espionage Act is a story that deserves much more attention than it has received thus far: the allegation that a senior official at the Department of Justice attempted to shake down Trump’s co-defendant’s lawyer. It is a scandal in the making that could result in the investigation of senior DOJ officials, which should lead to public congressional hearings, and that might even result in the entire case against Trump being dismissed,” Will Scharf reported for the Federalist on Wednesday, who added:
“Several weeks ago, Nauta’s lawyer, a distinguished, highly-regarded Washington attorney named Stanley Woodward, leveled accusations against senior members of the Department of Justice, including DOJ Counterintelligence Chief Jay Bratt, who is now a part of Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team of prosecutors. According to news reports, Woodward claimed in a sealed letter to D.C. District Chief Judge James Boasberg that, in a meeting to discuss Nauta’s case, Bratt indicated that Woodward’s application to be a D.C. Superior Court judge could be impacted if he could not get Nauta to testify against Trump.”
Scharf continued to consider the charges made against the DOJ:
“If true, and I see no reason why Woodward would make such a threat up — and especially no reason why Woodward would risk his career by making such a representation to a federal judge — Bratt’s alleged misconduct could result in heavy sanctions, and is a potential ground for dismissal of the entire case against Nauta and Trump. Depending on what exactly was said, Bratt could even face criminal prosecution himself.”
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon would be well within her rights to consider dismissal, Scharf wrote.
“The conduct claimed is perhaps unprecedented and certainly flagrant, amounting to nothing less than an effort by a high-ranking DOJ official to deprive a defendant of his Sixth Amendment right to counsel through inappropriate and potentially unlawful acts.”
It will be interesting to hear what happens on Thursday in this case.
Bratt’s conduct may even fall within the ambit of federal criminal statutes, depending on what exactly was said.
Scharf concluded by writing that Bratt’s conduct could constitute attempted witness tampering in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(b)(1), attempted federal bribery in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 201(b)(3), attempted extortion by a federal official in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 872, or attempted subornation of perjury in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1622.
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