Judge Aileen Cannon agreed Monday to a Justice Department (DOJ) request 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 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.
Nauta’s attorney, Stanley Woodward, has represented “at least seven other individuals who have been questioned in connection with the investigation,” including those who have testified about Nauta, the DOJ disclosed last month.
“Nauta should be thoroughly advised of the potential conflicts and attendant risks,” the DOJ wrote.
De Oliveira is facing charges for obstruction of justice and lying to authorities. He’s represented by John Irving, who is also serving as counsel to a witness the DOJ 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” in and out of a storage room on the property, according to the DOJ.
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.
Shortly after the meeting, Taveras disclosed to prosecutors the information that supported a superseding indictment in the case and led to charges for De Oliveira. Taveras has since signed a cooperation agreement.
Woodward later complained that the Justice Department only made such an offer after Taveras switched representation.