Judge scolds prosecutors as she delays hearing for co-defendant in Trump classified documents case

Oct 12, 2023, 1:12 PM

FORT PIERCE, Fla. (AP) — A judge on Thursday scolded federal prosecutors in the classified documents case against Donald Trump as she postponed a hearing to determine if the lawyer for one of the former president’s co-defendants had a conflict of interest.

“I admonish the government for wasting the court’s time,” U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon told prosecutors, saying they had presented arguments during Thursday’s hearing that had not been properly raised in earlier court filings.

She said she would continue the hearing at a later date for Walt Nauta, a Trump valet charged with conspiring with Trump to conceal classified documents from investigators.

Special counsel Jack Smith’s team had asked for hearings to ensure that Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira were aware of potential conflicts because their lawyers have represented other key figures in the case. Both men were charged alongside Trump with obstructing government efforts to recover classified documents hoarded at Mar-a-Lago, the former president’s Florida estate.

Prosecutors have said in court filings that the multiple representations could create a conflict by causing a lawyer to betray the confidences of a current or former client, or “pull punches,” during cross-examination.

In Nauta’s case, his attorney, Stanley Woodward, has represented at least seven other witnesses in the probe, prosecutors say, including a Mar-a-Lago information technology worker the Justice Department says was asked to delete the surveillance video.

That individual retracted “prior false testimony” after switching lawyers, struck a cooperation deal and provided information that incriminated Trump and helped produce a new indictment in July against the former president, Nauta and De Oliveira, prosecutors have said.

During Thursday’s hearing, prosecutor David Harbach, a member of Smith’s team, said that worker would be called as a government witness and questioned — and also cross-examined — about his change in testimony. He said it would be a conflict for Woodward, who as the worker’s former lawyer would presumably be privy to the confidences of his one-time client, to be permitted to cross-examine his client — a point Cannon said had not been previously argued.

Woodward has denied any conflict and said prosecutors have no way of knowing what he knows or doesn’t know about what his client communicated to him.

At a hearing earlier in the day, De Oliveira said under questioning from Cannon that he understood the concerns arising from his lawyer’s former representation of three government witnesses. Nonetheless, he wanted to keep his attorney, John Irving. Cannon ruled that he could.

Irving told the judge he did not foresee a conflict, saying there was nothing the witnesses — who are now represented by a new lawyer — could reveal that is not already known by the government or that would be problematic for De Oliveira.

De Oliveira is accused of lying to investigators when he claimed — falsely, prosecutors say — he hadn’t even seen boxes moved into Mar-a-Lago after Trump left the White House. Prosecutors say he also conspired with Trump and Nauta to try to delete surveillance footage from the property to prevent it from being turned over to the grand jury. De Oliveira has pleaded not guilty.


Tucker reported from Washington.

United States News

Associated Press

Officer shot before returning fire and killing driver in Albany, New York, police chief says

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A police officer in Albany, New York, was “ambushed” by a driver following an attempted traffic stop early Wednesday and was shot in the leg before returning fire, killing the man, the city’s police chief said. The officer was hospitalized at Albany Medical Center and was alert and conscious, Police Chief […]

5 minutes ago

Associated Press

Maui Fire Department report on deadly wildfire details need for more equipment and mutual aid plans

HONOLULU (AP) — When wildfires broke out across Maui last August, some firefighters carried victims piggyback over downed power lines to safety and sheltered survivors inside their engines. Another drove a moped into a burning neighborhood again and again, whisking people away from danger one at a time. But despite devoting nearly all the personnel […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Senate will convene the Mayorkas impeachment trial as Democrats plot a quick dismissal

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats could end the impeachment trial of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday before arguments even begin. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is expected to call votes to dismiss two articles of impeachment against Mayorkas after senators are sworn in as jurors midday, a move that could scuttle the trial […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Bob Graham, ex-US senator and Florida governor, dies at 87

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Former Florida Sen. Bob Graham, who chaired the Intelligence Committee following the 2001 terrorist attacks and opposed the Iraq invasion, has died. He was 87. His family announced the death Tuesday in a statement posted on X by his daughter Gwen Graham. Graham, who served three terms in the Senate, made […]

9 hours ago

Jordan Rasmussen 
pictured on July 23, 1973, the day his first child, David, was born. Jordan was m...

Amy Donaldson/KSL Podcasts

The Letter podcast debuts second season on 1982 murders

The Letter podcast rolls out its unexpected second season Tuesday, highlighting generational questions about trauma and forgiveness stemming from the 1982 murders of two young fathers.

9 hours ago

Associated Press

Four people shot — one fatally — in the Bronx by shooters who were riding on scooters

NEW YORK (AP) — Four people were shot — one fatally — on a street corner in the Bronx by shooters who were riding on scooters, police said. About 10 shots were fired after two scooters pulled up to the intersection after 6 p.m. Tuesday and passengers on the back of each pulled out guns, […]

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.



Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

Judge scolds prosecutors as she delays hearing for co-defendant in Trump classified documents case