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The federal judge overseeing former President Donald Trump’s case regarding alleged mishandling of classified documents has agreed to a Justice Department request to hear arguments regarding potential conflicts of interest between attorneys representing others charged in connection with the president’s indictment.
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, agreed on Monday to hold hearings to examine potential conflicts of interest of two attorneys representing former President Trump’s co-defendants in the Mar-a-Lago case,” The Hill reported.
The report noted further: “The move comes after the DOJ warned that the two attorneys are representing other clients who may be called as witnesses against Walt Nauta, Trump’s valet who moved boxes in and out of a storage room, and Carlos De Oliveira, the Mar-a-Lago property manager who assisted him.”
Stanley Woodward, the attorney for Nauta, has represented “at least seven other individuals who have been questioned in connection with the investigation,” including some who have provided testimony regarding Nauto, the DOJ noted in August.
“Nauta should be thoroughly advised of the potential conflicts and attendant risks,” the DOJ noted in its filing with Cannon.
De Oliveira faces allegations of obstructing justice and providing false statements to authorities. He is being represented by attorney John Irving, who also is counsel to a witness the Justice Department said “has information demonstrating the falsity of statements De Oliveira has made to the government.”
The same witness “also has information about De Oliveira’s loyalty to Trump and about De Oliveira’s involvement in the replacement of a lock—at the direction of Trump—on a closet inside Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago on June 2, 2022, the day Nauta and De Oliveira moved boxes” to and from a storage room at Mar-a-Lago, the DOJ claims, according to The Hill.
The Hill added:
Dual hearings on the matters are now set for Oct. 12. Cannon’s decision comes after special counsel Jack Smith’s team has complained in filings about Trump’s offer to pay for the attorneys of those swept up in his legal troubles.
The DOJ has had some success in shifting the case after requesting another so-called Garcia hearing for another Woodward client earlier this summer.
Yuscil Taveras, a Mar-a-Lago IT worker, flipped in the case after he was offered the chance to speak with an outside attorney during one such hearing.
He has since signed a cooperation agreement after disclosing shortly after the meeting to prosecutors information supporting a superseding indictment in the case, which then led to charges against De Oliveira, the outlet reported.
Last month, De Oliveira said that Special Counsel Jack Smith was exaggerating a potential ethical conflict in their client’s defense.
“In short, not only is there a lack of an actual conflict, which the Government apparently concedes, there is a lack of a potential one, as well,” his legal team said in a court filing, CNN reported.
The matter was brought up by the prosecution earlier this month when they informed the judge that Irving, one of De Oliveira’s attorneys, was representing three additional potential witnesses in the investigation who Smith’s team might potentially call to the stand at the trial scheduled for next year.
Irving no longer represents the three people in question, whom the prosecutors had referred to as a receptionist, a Trump aide, and a Mar-a-Lago maintenance worker, according to a court filing from De Oliveira’s legal team.
Additionally, according to De Oliveira’s attorneys, Irving was “unaware of any confidential information he obtained from any of those potential witnesses that could be used to cross-examine them.” Even if such information existed, they continued, cross-examinations could be conducted by Donnie Murrell, Irving’s recently hired co-counsel in the case, who “has never spoken with any of those individuals” and who “has obtained no confidential information from or about them.”