The particular counsel Jack Smith has requested a listening to to find out if a lawyer representing one in every of former President Donald J. Trump’s co-defendants, Walt Nauta, has “divided loyalties” by concurrently working for 3 witnesses who might be known as to testify at a trial within the case involving categorized paperwork at Mar-a-Lago, in line with a movement filed on Wednesday.
Prosecutors questioned whether or not Stanley Woodward Jr., a lawyer in Washington who has represented not less than seven witnesses within the case, might successfully defend Mr. Nauta in compliance with conflict-of-interest guidelines whereas additionally representing Trump staff who may be known as upon to take the stand in opposition to Mr. Nauta, the previous president’s valet and private aide.
In a movement filed to Choose Aileen M. Cannon, who’s presiding within the case, Jay I. Bratt, a prosecutor below Mr. Smith, expressed explicit concern about Mr. Woodward’s continued illustration of Mr. Nauta after one in every of Mr. Woodward’s former purchasers, Yuscil Tavares, apparently started cooperating with investigators. Mr. Tavares is an info expertise employee at Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s non-public membership and residence in Florida.
“All three of those witnesses could also be witnesses for the federal government at trial, elevating the likelihood that Mr. Woodward may be within the place of cross-examining previous or present purchasers,” Mr. Bratt wrote in requesting the listening to earlier than Choose Cannon in Federal District Courtroom in Fort Pierce, Fla.
Mr. Nauta pleaded not responsible final month to federal fees that he conspired with Mr. Trump to impede investigators from retrieving a trove of categorized supplies that Mr. Trump took from the White Home.
Mr. Tavares’s new lawyer has instructed the particular counsel’s workplace that he intends to carry Mr. Woodward to the identical requirements of “confidentiality, loyalty and conflict-free illustration” that had been in impact when he was Mr. Woodward’s consumer. Which may make it tough for Mr. Woodward to proceed to symbolize Mr. Nauta, the federal government argued.
Mr. Bratt advised that the courtroom may “procure impartial counsel” to be current on the listening to “to advise Mr. Woodward’s purchasers concerning the potential conflicts.”
It’s not clear when Choose Cannon, who was appointed by Mr. Trump, will rule on the movement.
Mr. Woodward declined to touch upon the federal government’s request. However he instructed the particular counsel’s workplace that he deliberate to answer the allegations within the movement with one in every of his personal, in line with the federal government’s submitting.
Prosecutors mentioned they’d knowledgeable Mr. Woodward in February and March, “orally and in writing,” that his simultaneous illustration of Mr. Nauta and Mr. Tavares “raised a possible battle of curiosity,” the movement mentioned.
On the time, prosecutors additionally instructed Mr. Woodward they believed Mr. Tavares “had info that might incriminate Nauta,” in line with the movement. Mr. Taveras seems to be the supply of an account contained in an up to date indictment filed within the case final week, accusing Mr. Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira, the property supervisor of Mar-a-Lago, of a plot to persuade Mr. Taveras to delete a pc server containing surveillance footage from Mar-a-Lago at Mr. Trump’s request.
Prosecutors mentioned of their movement that Mr. Woodward claimed “he didn’t have a purpose to consider” that representing each males was an issue.
Mr. Woodward is a well-recognized determine in Washington authorized circles, with a sturdy roster of purchasers, many with connections to Mr. Trump and his supporters on the best. He has usually been paid by the previous president’s political motion committee to symbolize present and former aides to Mr. Trump.
Mr. Woodward has represented witnesses and defendants in each the classified-documents prosecution and one other case that Mr. Smith has filed in opposition to Mr. Trump, accusing the previous president of collaborating in three conspiracies to overturn the 2020 election.
Amongst Mr. Woodward’s purchasers are Kash Patel, a former Protection Division official carefully aligned to Mr. Trump who sought to train his Fifth Modification rights in opposition to self-incrimination whereas testifying in entrance of a grand jury within the paperwork inquiry. Prosecutors finally compelled Mr. Patel to reply questions by forcibly conferring immunity on him.
Mr. Woodward has additionally represented Dan Scavino, Mr. Trump’s former deputy chief of workers, within the election-interference investigation. He has been defending Peter Navarro, one other aide to Mr. Trump, in opposition to contempt-of-Congress fees arising from his refusal to adjust to a subpoena from the Home choose committee investigating the riots of Jan. 6, 2021.
However he has not made his private political opinions public, and he’s recognized for his professional bono work on behalf of low-income tenants going through eviction in Washington.