- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 17, 2023

Special counsel Jack Smith raised concerns Thursday that the attorney representing one of former President Donald Trump‘s co-defendants in the classified documents case may have a conflict of interest.

In a South Florida federal court filing, Mr. Smith said John Irving, an attorney representing Carlos De Oliveira, is also representing three witnesses prosecutors may call during the trial.

Mr. De Oliveira is charged with obstruction of justice and making false statements arising from his alleged efforts to help Mr. Trump thwart the government’s efforts to retrieve classified documents stored at Mar-a-Lago.

In the filing, Mr. Smith‘s team said Mr. Irving “might be in the position of cross-examining current clients.”

“An attorney’s cross-examination of a client raises two principal dangers. First, the conflict may result in the attorney’s improper use or disclosure of the client’s confidences during the cross-examination. Second, the conflict may cause the attorney to pull his punches during cross-examination, perhaps to protect the client’s confidences or ‘to advance the attorney’s own personal interest,’” prosecutors wrote.

The filing does not identify the witnesses, but said they have “information demonstrating the falsity of statements De Oliveira has made to the government.”

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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,” the prosecutors wrote.

Prosecutors say the alleged lock replacement came on the same day Mr. De Oliveira and Walt Nauta, a Trump aide also charged in the case, moved boxes in and out of a storage room on the property.

Mr. Smith‘s team says if Mr. De Oliveira wants to keep Mr. Irving as his attorney, the court should hold a hearing to review that choice.

It’s the second time Mr. Smith‘s team has raised the issue of attorney conflict of interest in the Mar-a-Lago case. Earlier this month, prosecutors requested a hearing on whether Mr. Nauta’s attorney Stanley Woodward has a conflict because he represents two Mar-a-Lago employees, including one cooperating in the case.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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