The Justice Department (DOJ) is teeing up the possible disqualification of the attorney representing Walt Nauta, one of former President Trump’s alleged co-conspirators in the Mar-a-Lago case, warning the lawyer may have conflicts of interest after representing numerous witnesses in the probe.
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 Wednesday.
The DOJ is requesting a so-called Garcia hearing with Woodward’s clients “to inform them of potential risks and inquire into possible waivers,” noting that the court could provide an additional independent counsel to Nauta to assess whether he is being fairly represented by Woodward.
“Nauta should be thoroughly advised of the potential conflicts and attendant risks. Witness 1 and Witness 2 should also be present at the hearing and apprised of the risk that Mr. Woodward may use or disclose confidences he obtained from them,” the DOJ writes, referencing others that have testified about Nauta.
The DOJ also asks the court to assess whether Nauta fully understands the risk associated with his current attorney.
“If Nauta indicates he wishes to waive any conflicts, the Court should conduct an inquiry to determine whether the waiver is knowing and voluntary, and the Court should then determine whether to accept Nauta’s waiver,” the DOJ writes.
The motion comes following reports about the extent of Trump’s financing of attorneys for allies now embroiled in legal trouble due to their connection with him as well as the decision of Yuscil Taveras to switch attorneys, abandoning representation by Woodward.
Taveras, the Mar-a-Lago employee responsible for overseeing security cameras, previously received a target letter in the probe, but after switching attorneys he flipped, prompting the superseding indictment that detailed Trump’s involvement in attempting to delete Mar-a-Lago security footage.
That indictment also relied on information from Taveras that led to the naming of a third co-conspirator in the case, Carlos De Oliveira, a Mar-a-Lago property manager who helped Nauta move boxes and was part of the effort to delete the footage.
Woodward declined to comment on the matter but the filing indicates he will respond in court.
“Mr. Woodward has indicated that as a general matter he does not oppose the Court informing his client of the client’s rights or inquiring into potential waivers, but that he will not consent to this motion without seeing it in advance, and he requests the opportunity to respond,” the DOJ writes.