Arrest footage of Trump co-defendant provides glimpse into Jack Smith probe

“If he reached up, I probably could have tried to stop the muzzle, but he would have definitely threw my hand,” Floyd tells the officers, who were responding to a 911 call he placed about armed men barging into his building. “But the other one was right next to me. So, if I went for that gun, and he pulled a gun, now I’m fighting two guys with guns, that’s not good. So, I backed up and went away. … I could’ve been killed really fucking easily, if I wasn’t smart.”

The confrontation itself was not captured on the video, and it’s not clear why it apparently escalated into a heated altercation. What is clear is that, on Feb. 23, 2023, the FBI agents were attempting to serve Floyd with a grand jury subpoena as part of Smith’s federal investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

And the video reveals details of the previously secret subpoena that offer new insights into the timing, direction and staffing of Smith’s probe.

Smith, who
obtained a federal indictment of Trump in August
, has not charged Floyd in that case. But Floyd is facing criminal charges alongside Trump and other allies in
the separate probe in Georgia over election interference
. And Floyd was also arrested that day in Rockville and later charged in federal court with assaulting an officer for allegedly barreling into one of the FBI agents.

An attorney for Floyd, Chris Kachouroff, said the two men who approached his client never displayed their credentials, so Floyd could not be sure who they were or what they were doing. Audio recorded by one of the FBI agents confirms that, the lawyer said.

A spokesperson for Smith declined to comment on the episode.

A secret subpoena revealed

Grand jury subpoenas are not typically public. But in the bodycam video, one of the Rockville officers who answered Floyd’s 911 call can be seen holding up the subpoena and leafing through each page, with the text visible.

The subpoena demanded all records of Floyd’s contacts with Trump, the Trump administration and lawyers working on Trump’s behalf. More notably, it asked for all documents “relating to any planned or actual contact” with two Georgia election workers who became targets of conspiracy theories fomented by Trump and one of his top 2020 lawyers, Rudy Giuliani.

In the video, Smith’s name is clearly visible on the cover letter of the subpoena, as is a request to Floyd to keep the demand confidential.

The new details underscore that Smith has pursued evidence related to the harassment of the two Georgia election workers, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, who were falsely accused by Trump, Giuliani and others of manipulating ballots in 2020. Smith mentioned them in his Aug. 1, 2023, indictment of Trump, but the details of his probe into the matter have largely remained elusive. (In a separate proceeding, Freeman and Moss
recently won a $148 million defamation verdict
against Giuliani.)

The subpoena to Floyd also asked for any communications between Floyd and two other Trump allies: Stephen Lee and Trevian Kutti. Both Lee and Kutti, like Floyd, are
charged alongside Trump
in the Georgia case, which alleges that the campaign of harassment against Freeman and Moss was part of a sprawling conspiracy to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia. Floyd, Lee, Kutti and Trump have all pleaded not guilty.

The subpoena from Smith’s team was issued on Feb. 21, 2023, and gave Floyd a March 9 deadline to provide the documents. It did not require him to testify before the grand jury, and it’s unclear whether he ultimately complied with the demands.

The subpoena and its accompanying letter were signed by assistant special counsel Jonathan Haray, a veteran federal prosecutor who once worked closely with Washington, D.C.’s U.S. attorney, Matthew Graves, who now leads the massive Justice Department probe of the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

The presence on Smith’s staff of Haray, who once served as the deputy chief of the fraud and public corruption section at the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, has not been previously reported. Haray joined law firm DLA Piper in 2014 after a job at the Securities and Exchange Commission. He appears to have returned to government service about a year ago, around the time Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Smith to the special counsel post in November 2022.

A spokesperson for Smith’s office declined to confirm or detail Haray’s role or the roles of the FBI personnel who approached Floyd.

A shirtless Trump loyalist and two agents in ‘horrible’ suits

Though he lived in Maryland in 2023, Floyd was previously involved in Georgia Republican politics, including a short-lived run for Congress there in 2019. Later in the 2020 election cycle, he served as the director of the political group Black Voices for Trump.

Last year, prosecutors in Atlanta indicted him as one of Trump’s 18 alleged co-conspirators in the Georgia election interference case. Floyd is charged with racketeering, conspiracy to solicit false statements and improperly influencing witnesses. He has pleaded not guilty in that case. He hasn’t entered a plea in the federal assault case, court records show.

In November, Floyd beat back an effort by prosecutors in Georgia to jail him ahead of his trial after he posted
what they alleged were intimidating posts
about Jenna Ellis, a co-defendant who
struck a plea deal
. And last month, Floyd showed up at the federal courthouse in Washington to observe part of the trial in the defamation lawsuit that Moss and Freeman brought against Giuliani. As Floyd exited the building, he declined to answer a POLITICO reporter’s questions.

Floyd’s alleged assault on the two FBI agents seeking to serve the subpoena, and some of his interactions with the Rockville police officers responding to his 911 call, were
reported by the Washington Post in August
, citing records of a charge of assault of an officer filed against Floyd in federal court in Greenbelt, Maryland, about a week after the incident.

However, the bodycam video provides new details on the episode, as well as more of Floyd’s account of what happened.

Floyd told the Rockville officers that he initially fled the approaching FBI agents because he didn’t see their credentials and thought they might have been reporters or “antifa” attackers. He said they approached him as he was carrying his 2-year-old daughter, having just returned from a swim lesson across the road.

“They were fucking relentless,” Floyd said.

Floyd, who spent much of his hourlong encounter with the police officers shirtless, also complained about the appearance and garb of the FBI agents who had attempted to serve the subpoena, claiming it was among the reasons he didn’t trust who they claimed to be.

“Their suits were horrible,” he said, likening their disheveled appearance to characters from “Better Call Saul” or “Sanford and Son.”

“I know exactly what you’re talking about,” one of the Rockville officers replied.

A subpoena escalates to an assault charge

Court documents describing the encounter say Floyd had been informed by his mother-in-law that FBI agents had stopped by their home looking for him earlier in the day. He acknowledged she sent him photos of their business cards, but said she wasn’t sure if they were real. When the agents first sought to contact him through an intercom at his apartment building, they were connected to his cellphone. About 30 minutes later, the agents saw Floyd returning home with his daughter.

Floyd ran from the agents while carrying his daughter, Floyd and the agents recalled in documents and the bodycam footage, and he slammed his apartment door behind him, rejecting their entreaties to stop and receive the subpoena. Instead, one of them threw the document, attempting to get it inside Floyd’s home — but instead it got wedged in the door. An audio recording taken by one of the agents indicates that they attempted to identify themselves as FBI officials and display their credentials, according to
an affidavit
submitted with the federal assault charge.

“The audio shows they said they could show him their badges, but they just left,” Kachouroff, Floyd’s attorney, said in a brief telephone interview Thursday. “He says they never showed him who they were. His statements on that have been consistent.”

While the federal court filings don’t name the FBI agents, a
police report
released to POLITICO this week with the video under the Maryland Public Information Act identifies them as Walter Giardina and Christopher Meyer. Meyer’s name is also visible in the paperwork accompanying the subpoena seen in the bodycam video.

Giardina, who is assigned to the FBI’s Washington Field Office and like Floyd is a former Marine and an Iraq War veteran, has had roles in a number of high-profile, politically charged cases in recent years. He worked with special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, including on aspects of the investigation of
potential foreign influence on Trump 2016 campaign adviser Michael Flynn
, who briefly served as national security adviser in the first weeks of Trump’s administration.

Giardina also took part in
the arrest of another former Trump aide
, Peter Navarro, in a Reagan National Airport jetway in 2022 on charges of defying subpoenas from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot and Trump’s broader efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

The status of the federal assault-on-an-officer charge against Floyd is unclear. The public docket of the case remains open, but reflects no substantive action or hearings since May.

A spokesperson for the U.S. attorney’s office in Maryland, which is handling the case, did not respond to a request for comment Thursday but has previously said there were no available updates about the case.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *