Sarah May
September 10, 2023

Jim Jordan launches probe into member of Jack Smith's prosecutorial team

Amid the voluminous legal complications currently faced by Donald Trump, Republican House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio has initiated a probe into a member of Special Counsel Jack Smith's prosecutorial team, who the lawmaker says may have engaged in abuse tactics against a co-defendant of the former president, as the New York Post reports.

According to Jordan, the attorney in question, Jay Bratt, “improperly pressured” a lawyer representing Trump aide Walt Nauta – who was indicted alongside the former president in the classified document handling case – in an effort to secure cooperation with the Justice Department.

Jordan letter dispatched

As the Post noted, Jordan sent a letter to Smith last week demanding the production of documents he says are related to the “abusive tactics” employed by Jay Bratt, a member of the DOJ's prosecution team in the documents case.

Jordan believes that Bratt trained his sights on Stanley Woodward, counsel for Nauta, and applied improper pressure intended to coerce the longtime Trump confidant to turn on the former president.

In his letter to Smith, Jordan wrote, “Last year, Jay Bratt – one of your senior prosecutors and top aides – allegedly improperly pressured Stanley Woodward, a lawyer representing a defendant indicted by you, 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.”

Jordan continued, “This attempt to inappropriately coerce Mr. Woodward raises serious concerns about the abusive tactics of the Office of the Special Counsel and the Department's commitment to its mission to uphold the rule of law and ensure impartial justice.”

Explosive allegations

It was back in June that Woodward himself leveled the claims against Bratt in a communication filed under seal with Judge James Boasberg, a move that took place even before the indictments of Trump and Nauta were handed down.

Woodward claimed that back in November of 2022, he was called into a meeting with DOJ officials, during which Bratt told the lawyer that he was not a “Trump guy” and that he expected that Woodward would “do the right thing,” simultaneously referencing his D.C. Superior Court judgeship application, which was pending at the time.

Also at issue is a motion filed in August by Bratt, purporting to raise concerns about possible conflicts of interests stemming from Woodward's representation of other witnesses from whom the DOJ wanted cooperation.

Lawmaker's demands

In his letter to Smith, Jordan further noted, “Bratt's attempt to bully Mr. Nauta in cooperating, first by extorting his attorney and then by alleging a conflict of interest that precludes his attorney from the case, seriously calls into question your team and your ability to remain impartial and uphold the Department's mission.”

As part of his communication, Jordan also demanded the production of documents concerning Woodward's exchanges with the prosecution about his representation of Nauta and of other potential witnesses in the documents case.

Jordan set a Sept. 21 deadline for Smith's compliance, but whether the desired materials will indeed be forthcoming by that date, only time will tell.

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