This week, Special Counsel Jack Smith experienced an uncomfortable moment when U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon accused his team of wasting her time during a hearing relating to the case involving former President Donald Trump’s classified documents.
The Messenger reported that the hearing was intended to address a potential conflict of interest with defense lawyers John Irving and Stanley Woodward, who have represented both Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos De Oliveira and Trump aide Walt Nauta.
Both men had been indicted in June for their involvement in mishandling the classified documents.
De Oliveira informed Judge Cannon that he was aware of the possible conflict of interest by retaining Irving as his lawyer, but when Smith’s team asked for an “absolute bar” on Woodward cross-examining witnesses he previously represented, Cannon expressed her disappointment with their request and chose to reschedule Nauta’s hearing instead.
“I do want to admonish the government for frankly wasting the court’s time,” the judge said before adding that a new hearing would be needed.
After Mar-a-Lago aide Carlos De Oliveira waived conflict concerns re his lawyer and previous conflicts at an earlier hearing, Judge Aileen Cannon postponed one for Walt Nauta as it was midway through, saying the government brought new arguments without proper warning.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) October 12, 2023
In August, David Harbach of the Special Counsel Legal Team raised concerns regarding potential conflicts of interest in a court filing submitted by Jay Bratt. Cannon expressed her disappointment that Harbach had not requested restrictions earlier and had failed to provide supporting cases from her district.
“A hearing would permit a colloquy with Mr. Woodward’s clients to inform them of potential risks and inquire into possible waivers,” Bratt wrote.
“The Court may also wish to procure independent counsel to be present at the hearing and available to advise Mr. Woodward’s clients regarding the potential conflicts, should they wish to receive such advice,” Bratt added.