Special counsel Jack Smith for the second time raised concerns that former President Trump’s co-defendants in the Mar-a-Lago case may not be getting adequate legal representation as they rely on attorneys widely used by those in Trump’s network.
Carlos De Oliveira, a property manager at Trump’s Florida home, was accused in a superseding indictment of aiding Trump in an effort to delete security camera footage shortly after the Justice Department (DOJ) alerted that they would be requesting it.
De Oliveira has been represented in the probe by John Irving, an attorney whom the DOJ noted in a Wednesday night filing is also representing three others they may seek to call as witnesses in the trial.
“Potential conflicts of interest arise from Mr. Irving’s concurrent representation of De Oliveira and the three potential witnesses. Mr. Irving’s representation of the three potential witnesses raises the possibility that he might be in the position of cross-examining current clients,” the DOJ wrote.
De Oliveira is facing charges for obstruction of justice and lying to authorities.
Among Irving’s clients is a witness the DOJ said “has information demonstrating the falsity of statements De Oliveira has made to the government.”
The same witness “also has information about De Oliveira’s loyalty to Trump and about De Oliveira’s involvement in the replacement of a lock—at the direction of Trump—on a closet inside Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago on June 2, 2022, the day [Walt] Nauta and De Oliveira moved boxes” in and out of a storage room on the property.
Irving did not immediately respond to request for comment.
The DOJ argues that even if De Oliveira wishes to keep Irving as his attorney, the court should review that choice.
“If De Oliveira 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 De Oliveira’s waiver,” they wrote.
The motion for a so-called Garcia hearing is the second made by prosecutors in the case, in part a reflection of the Trump team’s coverage of legal fees for many workers wrapped up in the probe.
The DOJ raised the same issue with co-defendant Walt Nauta, Trump’s valet, who is being represented by Stanley Woodward.
The indictment of De Oliveira and the new charges for Nauta and Trump came after 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.
The indictment noted efforts from De Oliveira to determine how long security footage was stored on the Mar-a-Lago system. It says he later told another employee there that “‘the boss’ wanted the server deleted.”
The filing also points to a 24-minute call between De Oliveira and Trump shortly after the Justice Department warned it would soon be subpoenaing the video camera footage from Mar-a-Lago.
The indictment details De Oliveira’s attempts to apparently conceal the plans, describing him and Nauta walking among the bushes around the IT office where the security footage was managed.
At another point, De Oliveira and Nauta “walked with a flashlight through the tunnel where the storage room was located, and observed and pointed out security cameras.”