Judge Orders 2 Special Hearings in Trump Documents Case

Catherine Yang
By Catherine Yang
September 25, 2023Trump Indictment
Judge Orders 2 Special Hearings in Trump Documents Case
Waltine Nauta, personal aide to former President Donald Trump, departs the James Lawrence King federal court in Miami on July 6, 2023. (Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images)

Judge Aileen Cannon, who is presiding over the case against former President Donald Trump for allegedly mishandling classified documents, granted special counsel Jack Smith’s motions to hold Garcia hearings for two of the former president’s co-defendants.

Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos De Oliveira and butler Waltine Nauta were charged alongside President Trump, and their legal representation is the subject of the new hearings.

A Garcia hearing, named after a 1975 case, is a proceeding to ensure that a defendant understands the conflict of interest at play when they are represented by an attorney who is also representing another defendant or witnesses in the case.

Two separate hearings will be held for Mr. De Oliveira and Mr. Nauta on Oct. 12.

“The Office of Special Counsel shall be prepared to articulate the nature and scope of the potential conflicts identified in its 97 123 Motions, along with any evidence in support. Defendants shall be prepared to respond,” Judge Cannon wrote.

The hearing may be sealed in part, the judge added, denying a request from the special counsel’s office.

Conflicts of Interest

The prosecutors filed a motion on Aug. 2 to hold a conflict-of-interest hearing, arguing that Stanley Woodward, Mr. Nauta’s attorney, was representing three people that might be called as witnesses to testify against Mr. Nauta. The filing also noted that Mr. Woodward has represented seven individuals who were questioned as part of the government’s investigation into President Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents.

Of note is “Trump Employee 4,” director of information technology at Mar-a-Lago. The prosecutors claimed they alerted Mr. Woodward of a potential conflict of interest because Employee 4’s testimony could incriminate Mr. Nauta. Mr. Woodward replied he was unaware of any such testimony and did not believe there was a conflict of interest in representing the employee and Mr. Nauta. The filing also flagged “Witness 1,” who worked in the Trump administration White House as well as the post-presidential office, and “Witness 2,” who worked on President Trump’s reelection campaign and PAC, both represented by Mr. Woodward.

In a subsequent filing, the prosecutors claimed that Employee 4 changed his testimony after switching attorneys from Mr. Woodward to a state-appointed defense attorney.

“The target letter to Trump Employee 4 crystallized a conflict of interest arising from Mr. Woodward’s concurrent representation of Trump Employee 4 and Nauta,” the response reads. “Advising Trump Employee 4 to correct his sworn testimony would result in testimony incriminating Mr. Woodward’s other client, Nauta; but permitting Trump Employee 4’s false testimony to stand uncorrected would leave Trump Employee 4 exposed to criminal charges to perjury.”

Mr. Woodward later filed a response claiming that his former client changed his testimony because of a bargain the special counsel’s office offered, and that the threat of prosecution was immediately rescinded after his changed testimony. Mr. Woodward had also claimed that the special counsel’s office tried to bribe him, mentioning his application for a judgeship and his views of former President Trump.

Two weeks after the filing about Mr. Woodward, the prosecutors flagged a potential conflict of interest concerning John Irving, the attorney representing Mr. De Oliveira.

They noted that Mr. Irving is also representing three individuals the government may call as witnesses: a personal aide to President Trump who worked with Mr. Nauta, a maintenance worker at Mar-a-Lago, and a receptionist and assistant to President Trump during and after his presidency. The special counsel’s office claims all three potential witnesses have incriminating information, including information demonstrating that Mr. De Oliveira made false statements to the FBI.

Mr. Irving filed a response that he was not aware of any such incriminating information, and described the government’s request for a hearing as a premature questioning held before a trial.

Both attorneys requested the hearings to be sealed.

From The Epoch Times

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