Special counsel Jack Smith has received harsh criticism in recent months for his efforts to prosecute former President Donald Trump in two separate federal cases.
He first pursued an indictment over claims that Trump mishandled classified documents and then pushed for charges related to an alleged conspiracy to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election. Trump himself has regularly expressed his dismay over the prosecutor’s dogged pursuit of criminal charges.
This week, U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) confirmed a probe into Smith’s behavior, citing evidence that someone on the special counsel’s team attempted to convince an attorney for a different defendant in the first case to work with prosecutors.
In a statement on the matter, Jordan, who heads the House Judiciary Committee, declared: “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.”
Such an act, the Ohio Republican concluded, would raise “serious concerns about the abusive tactics” that Smith and his team have taken in an effort to prosecute Trump.
— House Judiciary GOP 🇺🇸 (@JudiciaryGOP) September 7, 2023
Woodward’s client has been identified as Walt Nauta, who pleaded not guilty to charges that he helped Trump hide classified documents while working for the former president in Florida.
Going on to outline the allegations that led to the current investigation, Jordan asserted that Bratt “threatened” the lawyer “that Mr. Nauta should cooperate ‘because he had given potentially conflicting testimony that could result in a false statement.’”
Furthermore, the prosecutor allegedly said Woodward did not appear to be “a Trump guy” and expressed confidence that the defense attorney “would do the right thing” by working with prosecutors in the case.
“Mr. Bratt 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,” the congressman’s statement added.
Jordan has requested that relevant documents, including those concerning Woodward’s conversations with prosecutors, be submitted to the committee by Sept. 21.