Three of Stan Woodward’s Eight Current and Former Clients Prepare to Testify against Each Other

It turns out that Stan Woodward has or still is representing enough witnesses in the stolen document case to field an ultimate frisbee team (seven people).

He would have even had a sub before Yuscil Taveras got a new lawyer on July 5.

Those are the details DOJ included in a motion for a Garcia hearing in the stolen documents case, asking Judge Cannon to conduct a colloquy with Walt Nauta and two witnesses the government may call to testify against Nauta, to make sure they’re all cool with the conflicts that representing clients with adverse interests may pose.

According to the filing, DOJ first told Woodward about the potential conflict that representing both Taveras and Nauta might pose in February, then again in March.

In February and March 2023, the Government informed Mr. Woodward, orally and in writing, that his concurrent representation of Trump Employee 4 and Nauta raised a potential conflict of interest. The Government specifically informed Mr. Woodward that the Government believed Trump Employee 4 had information that would incriminate Nauta. Mr. Woodward informed the Government that he was unaware of any testimony that Trump Employee 4 would give that would incriminate Nauta and had advised Trump Employee 4 and Nauta of the Government’s position about a possible conflict. According to Mr. Woodward, he did not have reason to believe his concurrent representation of Trump Employee 4 and Nauta raised a conflict of interest.

Taveras’ testimony that he told Carlos De Oliveira to call the guys who could give him permissions to start deleting things provides critical context for the text that Nauta sent Matthew Calamari Sr. around the same time.

For his part, Taveras is okay with Woodward staying on the case so long has he doesn’t use any confidences he shared to cross-examine him.

The Government has conferred with Trump Employee 4’s new counsel, and Trump Employee 4 does not intend to waive his rights to confidentiality, loyalty, and conflict-free representation with respect to his earlier representation by Mr. Woodward.


Trump Employee 4’s presence at the hearing is not required. As set forth above, Trump Employee 4 has informed the Government, through his new counsel, that he takes no position as to Mr. Woodward’s continuing representation of Nauta (or anyone else) but does not consent to the use or disclosure of his client confidences and expects Mr. Woodward to comport with the ethical rules regarding maintenance of client confidences.

That would mean that Woodward may not be able to defend Nauta as vigorously as he otherwise might, because he might pull his punches against Taveras.

That’s part of the reason prosecutors want Cannon to make sure Nauta understands the limitations this may put on Woodward’s representation of him.

But that’s not all. Of the eight total witnesses in this investigation that Woodward has represented, two other people he still represents may also testify against Nauta, and their interests may conflict as well.

Nauta is represented by Stanley Woodward, Jr., who has represented at least seven other individuals who have been questioned in connection with the investigation. Those individuals include the director of information technology for Mar-a-Lago (identified in the superseding indictment as Trump Employee 4) and two individuals who worked for Trump during his presidency and afterwards (hereafter Witness 1 and Witness 2).


Witness 1 worked in the White House during Trump’s presidency and then subsequently worked for Trump’s post-presidential office in Florida. Mr. Woodward has represented Witness 1 in connection with this case and, to the Government’s knowledge, continues to do so.

Witness 2 worked for Trump’s reelection campaign and worked for Trump’s political action committee after Trump’s presidency ended. Mr. Woodward has represented Witness 2 in connection with this case and, to the Government’s knowledge, continues to do so.

I told you I was missing some of the people he represents on the list I included in this post!

So on top of being paid by the PAC that’s under criminal investigation as part of a fraud scheme, Woodward is now representing an ultimate frisbee team’s worth of witnesses who may have to testify against each other.

This is the problem with omertàs: when they start to fail, they can collapse quickly.

I have argued that Woodward has done several things in this case — most recently, in demanding that Nauta get access to the classified documents he doesn’t have a need to know — designed to test how much Judge Cannon will let get the defense away with.

This one is a pretty big test of Judge Cannon, however.

43 replies
  1. BRUCE F COLE says:

    Ok, I always read a post before commenting, but this title is classic EW, and a legal knee slapper.

    I recenlty read a puff piece about Woodward (might have been Politico) and thought “Does the writer have a faint clue what this guy has gotten himself into?”

    So now I’m going to go read what that writer skirted.

    • emptywheel says:

      Both Nauta and De Oliveira look pretty short, but I’ve played with some pretty good short players, including a woman who was a Callahan finalist.

      I guess it’ll depend on their speed.

    • Wilmington_02AUG2023_1519h says:

      I’m tempted to make a comparison to the UNCW Seamen or Seaweed at their respective peaks – loud, rule breaking, boundary pushing and in your face. But at least those teams had some talent and skill to back up their bluster. They also won a lot more than they lost. The Mar-a-Lago 7 is more like the old head at pickup calling every perceived travel and pointing out nebulous spirit violations to the sideline.

      [Welcome to emptywheel. Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We are moving to a new minimum standard to support community security. Because your username is a common place name, it will be temporarily changed to match the date/time of your first known comment until you have a new compliant username. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  2. BRUCE F COLE says:

    Holy shit! Garcia, and specificity-rich! This does indeed put Cannon on notice, while putting Woodward into finger-in-the-dike mode. Luckily, it’s always swimsuit season in FL!

    It also will slow things down, pretrial, down there as folks have to go atty-shopping and those new attys need to bone up.

    “Clusterfuck” is not even a slight eggageration in this case.

  3. Peterr says:

    . . . [Taveras] takes no position as to Mr. Woodward’s continuing representation of Nauta (or anyone else) but does not consent to the use or disclosure of his client confidences and expects Mr. Woodward to comport with the ethical rules regarding maintenance of client confidences.

    The word “expects” leaps out at me here. On what basis would Taveras expect this?

    I wonder if this is a trap being laid by Taveras’ lawyer, giving him what seems to me a pretty good bet that he’d be able to get a guilty verdict against Taveras tossed out because Woodward violated this.

    • RitaRita says:

      Just a guess – Woodward can represent Nauta but can’t cross-examine his former client, Taveras, using any confidential communications he may have had with Taveras and he can’t disclose any confidential communication. Not impossible for him to honor that. Nauta might not like that limitation, though.

      • bmaz says:

        Eh, that does not work. In fact, if he cannot cross-ex others because of conflict, he has a prohibitive conflict.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Even if both clients agreed, there’s still the problem bmaz points out. Plus, how would you police such an arrangement during trial? The arrangement virtually begs for a mistrial and isn’t workable.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        If the edit button still worked, I could police that. Is it gone for good, or do I simply need to adjust my browser – along with the horizontal and the vertical?

        “Sorry, replies to unapproved comments are not allowed.”

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Thanks for the info. Sorry about the extra work. Will adjust my typing speed. Many thanks for the extraordinary journalism!

        • bmaz says:

          I don’t know about the edit button. Will look into it. But we are inundated with trolls, bots and idiots currently. That is not going to lessen over the immediate future.

        • Another dude from G-ville says:

          I have a few domains I manage that have been under bot attack for well over a month. The scripts are looking for wp-login.php and xlmrpc.php, and these aren’t even WP sites…

          Not sure what platform you run on but if its Linux look into fail2ban. It’s a great piece of software for banning bots and other bad actors.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Thanks. No, I expect the trolls, bots, and idiots to increase considerably, commensurate with Trump’s legal peril.

    • BRUCE F COLE says:

      I intended to post this as a reply to you, but it got put below this thread:
      Makes sense.

      OTOH, it might even seem to put Woodward’s continued presence in the trial itself into question.

      “Taveras takes no position as to Woodwards continued representation of Nauta (or anyone else)…” is an otherwise tangential statement with that exact question looming in front of it.

    • RipNoLonger says:

      Seems to me (NAL) that there’s a lot of implicit trust in that “expects”. And that it would be very difficult, if not impossible, for someone outside of the attorney-client privilege(s) to know when certain info has been leaked, or the attorney decided to change the strategy based on A-C knowledge with another client.

  4. UncleVinny says:

    Would it make sense to pass a law stating that if you’re going to pay someone’s legal bills, they have to be free to pick their own attorney? Is it too tricky to define an “independent” lawyer? And maybe it’s too complicated to write a blank check for whatever legal representation your giftee chooses?
    (Sorry if this is a different username than I’ve used before here, but it’s been a while and this is what I use most places.)

    [Moderator’s note: Your username here is fine, complies with site’s minimum 8-letter standard. Please make sure to use the same name, same spelling as well as the same email address each time you comment. /~Rayne]

    • TPA_Kyle says:

      The IRS Gift Tax has an annual exclusion of $17,000 for 2023. After that, any monetary gift is taxable as regular income. That $17,000 wont buy much in the way of legal services, especially in a case like this. Won’t these gifts of legal service be pretty expensive from a tax standpoint?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        In the US, for gifts above the annual limit, the person giving the gift only need make an information filing, not pay tax.

        The total amount of such gifts counts against the lifetime exclusion for the grantor. That’s currently about $11 million for an individual, double that for a married couple. It is only for gifts that exceed those aggregate limits that the grantor is taxed, at about 48%. The person receiving the gift is Not taxed.

        Other countries do tax recipients of gifts above a nominal amount, either as ordinary income or per a gift tax schedule. In some countries, gift tax is reduced over a given number of years, assuming the grantor and grantee remain alive, an arrangement meant to promote lifetime gifts.

        Either way, Trump is spending a lot of money for loyalty. He and the legal entities spending it will account for it in the most tax advantageous way for them. So, it’s another thing recipients of Trump’s supposed largesse should be wary of.

  5. BRUCE F COLE says:

    Makes sense.

    OTOH, it might even seem to put Woodward’s continued presence in the trial itself into question.

    “Taveras takes no position as to Woodwards continued representation of Nauta (or anyone else)…” is an otherwise tangential statement with that exact question looming in front of it.

  6. Capemaydave says:

    Indeed. This IS a big test for Judge Cannon.

    I’m eager to see how she rules.

    Thanks again for the research.

  7. Alexei Schacht says:

    It may also be part of a larger strategy for delay, as Woodward must know that he cannot represent Nauta because of the conflict. And so while all this plays out it will further delay the case. And when Nauta gets a new lawyer it will delay things further still. The only “defense” here is delay.

    • BRUCE F COLE says:

      This case won’t go to trial anytime soon, not even by the current target of next Spring. The superseding indictment has only just been issued and now this Garcia motion, plus we don’t even have CIPA clearances for defendants’ lawyers, and that is on top of the Garcia process itself which puts Woodward’s participation totally up in the air.

      As I’ve noted elsewhere, this totally works with respect to the J6 prosecution to be fast tracked, allowing Smith’s forces to be largely concentrated there. None of these impediments exist in that case in which Trump is the only target (others will be charged separately) and there’s no classified material involved and there will be no superseding happening. Trump-J6 has to get an airing soon so that Trump’s lies get a taken apart in court, dismantled in real time, for the electorate’s benefit so that our democracy can be salvaged before the upcoming General Election.

      For that to happen, all eyes need to be on the trial in DC, and Chutkan is the best judge for that expediency to occur — whereas Cannon will be almost irrelevant at that point as the documents case will now likely be tried after the 2024 election when Trump is being sentenced for J6, hopefully.

      • bmaz says:

        Lol, Cannon is FAR from irrelevant. And that was Smith’s choice. He did not have to file so much in SDFL, but he affirmatively chose to. So be it.

  8. Former AFPD says:

    I have been waiting for this motion from the government. It will be very interesting to see how these proceedings unfold in court and otherwise.

    • emptywheel says:

      Then there’s the other one, in which there’s a conflict bc he’s being paid by an organization under criminal investigation.

  9. jdmckay8 says:

    (…) “will get the defense away with.”

    Shouldn’t that be (maybe): “will let the defense get away with it.”

  10. INREALM says:

    Have to wonder who is paying the legal bills if multiple employees are using the same lawyer. Perhaps more witness tampering attempts by Trump? He has paid for Rudy’s court case bill ~ $340K.

  11. Duderino says:

    If one lawyer reps three defendants, are there three separate accounts? And so if the single payer shorts or refuses/delays to pay on one or two accounts but pays on the third, is that “tampering”? And until defense says he isn’t paid, I assume nobody
    Would know. So if the lawyer decides to quit representing one or two defendants and claims non-payment, how does the court react?

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