DOJ claims conflict of interest exists with attorney representing co-conspirator Walt Nauta

August 3, 2023
Ryan Ledendecker

On Tuesday, former President Donald Trump was federally indicted once again by Special Counsel Jack Smith, this time essentially for expressing his First Amendment rights after the 2020 election. 

According to the Washington Examiner, as far as Trump's classified documents indictment, a new twist developed this week as the Department of Justice expressed concerns regarding the lawyer representing Walt Nauta, one of the co-conspirators named in Trump's first federal indictment.

Special Counsel Jack Smith's office submitted a 10-page motion on Wednesday outlining why the DOJ believes a clear conflict of interest exists with Nauta's lawyer, Stanley Woodward.

Smith's latest motion followed a superseding indictment last week that added additional charges in the classified documents indictment.

What's going on?

The potential conflict of interest stems from Woodward's client list, which involves his representation of "at least seven other individuals who have been questioned in connection with the investigation."

The Examiner noted:

The DOJ is requesting what is known as a Garciahearing with Woodward's client to "inform them of potential risks and inquire into possible waivers." Prosecutors asked the Florida court to look into whether Nauta completely understands the risks associated with his present attorney and whether he is being represented fairly.

The outlet added:

The revelation raised concerns because the indictment reveals a private and possibly incriminating conversation between Taveras and Carlos De Oliveira, who is described in the indictment as the property manager at the Florida resort and was named as Trump's third co-defendant last week.

"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," Smith's filing read.

Two additional witnesses represented by Nauta's attorney, according to Smith's office, have raised conflict of interest concerns in the past.

The Justice Department wants Woodward disqualified for the potential conflict of interest situation.

Social media reacts

Users across social media offered mixed reactions to the Justice Department's concerns, with some believing it's for certain that Woodward will be disqualified as a result.

"I mean dang. I’m not a legal expert and I coulda told you that!!!" one Twitter user wrote.

Another Twitter user added, "Everyone in the DOJ has conflict of interest issues on any case involving Trump."

Only time will tell if the DOJ is able to convince the judge that a conflict of interest exists and is enough to have Woodward removed.

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