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Defendant in classified docs case waives conflict of interest concerns regarding his attorney

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(WASHINGTON) — One of former President Donald Trump’s co-defendants in the special counsel’s classified documents case told the judge overseeing the case Friday that he wants his attorney to continue to represent him despite any potential conflicts of interest.

Longtime Trump aide Walt Nauta told U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon that he understood potential conflicts that his lawyer Stanley Woodward has with his previous and current representations of witnesses in the case — and that he still wants Woodward to represent him.

Special counsel Jack Smith’s team had requested the hearings for Cannon to determine if attorneys for Nauta and co-defendant Carlos De Oliveira have any such conflicts of interest.

A hearing last week on the matter was derailed when prosecutors — in a argument that was allegedly broader than what they previously put in their court papers — called for an “absolute bar” of Woodward’s ability to cross-examine one of the witnesses he previously represented, prompting Judge Cannon to chastise the prosecutors and dismiss the hearing.

Asked at Friday’s hearing about the potential conflicts, Nauta told the judge, “I do understand the conflicts,” adding that he wants Woodward to continue as his attorney.

Judge Cannon accepted Nauta’s waiver and is expected to issue a formal order later.

Woodward previously represented the witness at the center of the government’s argument, former Mar-a-Lago IT director Yuscil Taveras, who was referred to as “Trump Employee 4” in Smith’s indictment. He is not currently being represented by Woodward.

As part of Friday’s proceedings, Woodward agreed to have his co-counsel, Sasha Dadan, cross-examine any witnesses in question should they be called at trial.

Taveras received a target letter from the government for allegedly perjuring himself during grand jury testimony, after which he decided to retain new counsel, revise his testimony and cooperate with the government.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Nov. 1 when Cannon will hear arguments on scheduling, following a motion from Trump’s lawyers to further delay the trial until after the 2024 election.

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