Jim Jordan Launches Investigation Into ‘Prosecutorial Abuses’ by Jack Smith’s Deputy
Prosecutor Jay Bratt is accused of dangling the prospect of a federal judgeship in front of the attorney for Walt Nauta in exchange for Nauta turning state’s evidence against former President Trump.
The chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Jim Jordan, has launched an investigation into Special Counsel Jack Smith’s office, claiming that Mr. Smith’s deputy, Jay Bratt, made intimations that a lawyer for President Trump’s valet, Walt Nauta, would receive a federal judgeship if his client cooperated with the special counsel’s investigation. This is just the newest of Mr. Jordan’s investigations into prosecutors who are taking Mr. Trump to trial.
Mr. Jordan alleges that Mr. Bratt told Mr. Nauta’s attorney, Stanley Woodward, that he would be looked on “favorably” for a federal judgeship if his client cooperated with the investigation. “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,” the committee wrote in a press release.
Mr. Nauta is a personal aide to Mr. Trump, who has been indicted alongside him in the classified documents case at Miami. So far, Mr. Nauta has not begun cooperating with the special counsel’s office, and there’s been no public indication that he’s interested in getting a plea bargain.
In November 2022, months before the indictments in the classified documents case were issued, Mr. Woodward was summoned to the Department of Justice by members of Mr. Smith’s staff, including Mr. Bratt. During that meeting, Mr. Bratt informed Mr. Woodward that his client would likely face a charge of making false statements to federal investigators if he did not fully cooperate with the investigation.
“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,” Mr. Jordan wrote in his letter to Mr. Smith’s office.
“Mr. Woodward subsequently informed the Justice Department that they ‘would have no further communications’ unless the Justice Department charged Mr. Nauta or brokered an immunity deal,” the letter continued.
Mr. Jordan further accuses Mr. Bratt of attempting to intimidate Mr. Woodward in court filings. Mr. Bratt “sought to induce Mr. Nauta’s cooperation by attacking Mr. Woodward’s representation,” Mr. Jordan writes. In an August 2 court filing at Miami, Mr. Bratt accused Mr. Woodward of representing other clients who have “conflicts of interest” in the classified documents case and who could be called to testify against Messrs. Trump and Nauta.
“Mr. Bratt’s attempt to bully Mr. Nauta into 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,” Mr. Jordan wrote to Mr. Smith.
The Judiciary Committee is seeking all “documents and communications” related to Mr. Woodward’s November 2022 visit to the DOJ; all communications between DOJ leadership “relating to Mr. Woodward and his representation of individuals” in federal prosecutions; and all documents related to “Mr. Woodward’s application to fill a vacancy on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.” Mr. Jordan has set a September 21 deadline for all of these records to be handed over to his committee.
This is just the latest investigation Mr. Jordan has launched into prosecutors’ investigations of Mr. Trump. In April, the Judiciary Committee chairman sought to compel testimony from a former deputy to Manhattan’s district attorney, Alvin Bragg, who is prosecuting the former president for paying hush money in the days before the 2016 election to a porn star with whom he allegedly had an affair. Mr. Bragg’s former subordinate, Mark Pomerantz, quit the Manhattan district attorney’s office after he felt the office was not aggressive enough in pursuing Mr. Trump.
After Mr. Jordan sought Mr. Pomerantz’s testimony, Mr. Bragg sued to stop his former deputy from appearing before the committee, accusing Mr. Jordan of launching a “brazen and unconstitutional attack” on an independent prosecution. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals later sided with Mr. Bragg, thus preventing Mr. Pomerantz’s appearance before the Judiciary Committee.
Mr. Jordan has also launched an investigation into the district attorney of Fulton County, Georgia, Fani Willis, who is prosecuting Mr. Trump and 18 co-defendants for allegedly violating her state’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations law.
“Your indictment and prosecution implicate substantial federal interests, and the circumstances surrounding your actions raise serious concerns about whether they are politically motivated,” Mr. Jordan wrote to Ms. Willis on August 24. He is seeking information related to the investigation of the former president, as well as any communications Ms. Willis may have had with Mr. Smith and other DOJ officials.
“Your office is seeking to criminalize under Georgia law certain speech of federal officers, including the President, that is protected by the First Amendment,” the chairman wrote.
On Thursday, Ms. Willis hit back at Mr. Jordan, refusing to turn over the documents and communications records he had requested. She wrote that the “obvious purpose” of Mr. Jordan’s inquiry “is to obstruct a Georgia criminal proceeding and to advance outrageous partisan misrepresentations.”