A lawyer for a Donald Trump loyalist who is accused alongside the former president in the Justice Department’s lawsuit involving secret documents is being challenged by special counsel Jack Smith.
Stanley Woodward is defending Walt Nauta, a Trump employee who was charged with charges relating to the alleged improper handling of confidential documents at Mar-a-Lago.
According to Axios, the DOJ has requested a hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon, alleging that Woodward potentially has conflicts of interest in the matter.
The department claimed in a legal document submitted on Wednesday that Woodward “has represented at least seven other individuals who have been questioned in connection with the investigation.”
Axios reports that Woodward is reportedly advising one Trump employee who the DOJ thinks may have information that could “incriminate” Nauta while also defending two additional Trump staffers.
“All three of these witnesses may be witnesses for the government at trial, raising the possibility that Mr. Woodward might be in the position of cross-examining past or current clients,” the filing states.
The DOJ argued that a hearing in regard to disqualifying Woodward is “appropriate given that an attorney who cross-examines a former or present client inherently encounters divided loyalties.”
If Cannon will hear the government’s argument, in this case, is unknown.
Along with Trump, Nauta, Trump’s valet, was arrested in June. The DOJ filed fresh allegations against them and Mar-a-Lago maintenance worker Carlos De Oliveira last week.
According to reports, De Oliveira and Nauta moved boxes at Mar-a-Lago last summer. The DOJ has also charged the individuals with requesting that security footage be removed so that a federal grand jury would not be able to view it.
According to The Washington Post, de Oliveira is accused of four offenses, including providing false statements and conspiring to impede justice. According to a different Axios article, Nauta now faces six accusations that are similar.
De Oliveira has not yet made a decision regarding his plea; Nauta has pleaded not guilty.
The case against Trump originally had 37 counts against him, but they were increased to 40 last week.
He is charged with several felonies including the improper handling of secret data, including the purposeful retention of information relevant to national defense, conspiracy to obstruct justice, making false statements, and others.
He entered a not-guilty plea.