Jack Smith is making it clear that he believes the attorney representing former President Donald Trump’s valet might be unfit to question his previous client.
In a recent additional briefing, the prosecutor argued that “Defendant Waltine Nauta’s attorney, Stanley Woodward Jr., may have ethical constraints preventing him from effectively cross-examining former client Trump Employee 4, a crucial witness in the trial,” as per the document.
This development was brought to the attention of legal expert Katie Phang in a social media post. She highlighted that Woodward faces potential disqualification because he formerly represented the unnamed “Trump Employee 4” while presently representing “Witness 1.”
Woodward had previously represented IT director Yuscil Taveras during a period when false testimony was presented to a grand jury regarding video surveillance footage at Mar-a-Lago, as noted in an earlier filing.
It wasn’t until Taveras sought new legal counsel and admitted his involvement in the destruction of security footage that these facts came to light, according to CNBC.
In her social media thread referencing the documents, Phang also pointed out that Nauta’s attorney, Stanley Woodward, seems to acknowledge that “his ethical obligations might limit his ability to challenge the credibility of Trump Employee 4 or Witness 1 during closing arguments.”
The recent filing indicates that Woodward and his legal team may be seeking to delegate “any cross-examination” to “co-counsel” when ethical conflicts arise.
Smith, in contrast, expressed appreciation for attorney John Irving, who is representing Mar-a-Lago maintenance worker Carlos De Oliveira.
Smith’s filing suggests that Irving made the right call when he “informed the Court and the Government that he would no longer represent the potential witnesses, and his co-counsel would be solely responsible for cross-examining the witnesses at trial.”
However, Woodward appeared to take a different stance by “simply denying the existence of any conflict and suggesting that he should be allowed to cross-examine Trump Employee 4.”
Phang shared her insights on Smith’s legal maneuvering, emphasizing that Woodward’s ability to challenge the credibility of current and former clients during closing arguments had been a major point of contention in recent court proceedings before Judge Cannon. She cited the filing’s statement that such ethical situations often result in attorney disqualification, even if they propose another attorney to handle cross-examination of a former client.
Phang noted that Woodward’s concessions to the government, as outlined in the recent filing, carry significant weight, especially considering his previous complaints before Judge Cannon.