Lawyers for Carlos de Oliveira – the Mar-a-Lago property manager charged alongside former President Donald Trump in the classified documents case – said Wednesday that special counsel Jack Smith was overplaying a potential ethical conflict in their representation of their client.
“In short, not only is there a lack of an actual conflict, which the Government apparently concedes, there is a lack of a potential one, as well,” they said in a new court filing.
Prosecutors had raised the issue earlier this month, telling the judge that one of De Oliveira’s attorneys, John Irving, was representing three other possible witnesses in the investigation who Smith’s team could potentially put on the stand at next year’s trial.
The new filing from De Oliveira’s legal team said that Irving no longer represents the three individuals in question, whom the prosecutors had described as a receptionist, a Trump aide and a Mar-a-Lago maintenance worker.
Furthermore, De Oliveira’s lawyers said that Irving was “unaware of any confidential information he obtained from any of those potential witnesses that could be used to cross-examine them.” They added that even if there was such information, the cross-examinations can be done by Irving’s recently hired co-counsel in the case, Donnie Murrell, who “has never spoken with any of those individuals” and who “has obtained no confidential information from or about them.”
The defense lawyers said they would not oppose US District Judge Aileen Cannon conducting a hearing with De Oliveira – if it was done in secret and without prosecutors involved – to make sure his constitutional rights to counsel were protected. But they pushed back at Smith’s proposal for a hearing that would include the three witnesses in question as well, as the lawyers said there “is no need to parade the witnesses before the press so that the Court can make an inquiry of them.”
The conflict issue related to De Oliveira is one of two before Cannon. Prosecutors have also sought a hearing on potential ethical conflicts around attorney Stanley Woodward’s representation of another co-defendant, Walt Nauta, because Woodward has also represented other potential trial witnesses.
De Oliveira, Nauta and Trump have all pleaded not guilty to the charges in case.