Stan Woodward Thinks Aileen Cannon Is an Easy Mark

There’s a passage in Stan Woodward’s surreply to DOJ’s motion for a conflicts hearing in the stolen documents case that goes to the core of Woodward’s conduct in his representation of multiple witnesses in Trump investigations.

Woodward claims that because Yuscil Taveras testified in a July 20 grand jury appearance that he had not been coached (by Woodward, presumably) to lie about whether he had any conversation with Carlos De Oliveira, it’s proof that Taveras’ original grand jury testimony that he did not was not perjurious.

[T]he foregoing Surreply is necessary to correct the record with respect to the Special Counsel’s Office’s conduct in this matter. Specifically, defense counsel played no role in Trump Employee 4’s voluntary testimony before the grand jury resulting in the Superseding Indictment in this action.5 Superseding Indictment (July 27, 2023) (ECF No. 85). Moreover, when Trump Employee 4 testified, for the first time, before a Grand Jury in this District, Trump Employee 4 was unequivocal that, with respect to his prior testimony, he, “wasn’t coached,” and that nobody, “suggest[ed] to [him], influence[d] [him to say that th[e] conversation with Carlos De Oliveira didn’t happen.” G.J. Tr. at 50 (July 20, 2023). To that end, Trump Employee 4 did not retract false testimony and provide information that implicated Mr. Nauta, “[i]mmediately after receiving new counsel.” Reply at 4 (Aug. 22, 2023) (ECF No. 129) (emphasis added). Rather, after the Special Counsel’s Office issued a target letter on June 20, 2023, threatening Trump Employee 4 with prosecution, see Reply at 3 (Aug. 22, 2023) (ECF No. 129) (“[O]n June 20, 2023, . . . [a] target letter . . . identified . . . criminal exposure . . . entirely due to [Trump Employee 4’s allegedly] false sworn denial before the grand jury in the District of Columbia that he had information about obstructive acts that would implicate Nauta (and others).” [my emphasis]

Woodward provided no evidence — not one shred — to support his claim that Taveras didn’t change testimony. All he provided was inconclusive evidence that Taveras did not blame Woodward for his original, allegedly false, testimony.

And based off that unsupported claim, Woodward suggested that dealing with alleged perjury delivered in a DC grand jury in DC to support additional charges amounted to abuse of grand jury rules.

The argument of the Special Counsel’s Office, that it did not use the D.C. grand jury for the purpose of adding to the store of witnesses in the instant case, is unpersuasive.10 The theory the Special Counsel’s Office offers, that having called a witness before a distant grand jury to answer questions about events in this District and having nominally created an additional venue in which to claim that the witness was untruthful, should not be condoned. The approach taken by the Special Counsel’s Office – which unquestionably affected the presentation of evidence in the existing Southern District of Florida case – is a tactic inconsistent with precedent barring the use of a grand jury for trial purposes.

All of this is transparent garbage.

But he’s writing for Aileen Cannon, and so his unsubstantiated claim, on which he builds his renewed demand that Cannon exclude Taveras’ testimony altogether, might well work!

Woodward also plays temporal games by using comments Michelle Peterson and James Boasberg made on June 30, in the first conflict hearing, to claim he did nothing wrong.

5 As both the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and the First Assistant Federal Public Defender acknowledged:

[First Assistant Federal Public Defender]: Your Honor, one other thing. I did want to say for the record, I should have started with this, have seen no reason to believe that either Mr. Woodward or Mr. Brand or anyone else associated with this has done anything improper. This just came up at this point in time, and based on the status of the record, I’ve given [Trump Employee 4] my best counsel, and he will be making a decision based on everything he knows now.

THE COURT: Right. And thank you. And certainly my reading of the government’s motion for his hearing did not suggest that Mr. Woodward or Mr. Brand had done anything improper either. The government’s was a prophylactic measure to comply with the law as it exists regarding conflicts and to make sure that [Trump Employee 4] is aware of his rights. Hr’g T. at 6 (June 30, 2023) (Attached hereto as Exhibit C).

Those comments were made after just an hour of consultation between Peterson and Taveras. It’s not a comment Peterson made at the second conflicts hearing, on July 5, where Taveras said he wished to have Peterson represent him, much less after Taveras changed his testimony.

And while the exhibits Woodward included purport to support his false claims, they also reveal that the approach to the conflict hearing before Cannon is similar to what he tried — unsuccessfully — to pull before Judge Boasberg.

In an email to Boasberg’s chamber on June 28, Woodward accused the government — which filed this conflict motion with no advance notice to Woodward — of stalling on a conflicts hearing when Taveras testified in March and then played for more time and briefing.

[I]nsisting on a hearing on such short notice prejudices [Taveras] and any appointed conflicts counsel. Although the government alludes to an ex parte submission, neither the Court nor any potential conflics counsel has had the benefit of any submission on behalf of [Taveras]. Effectively, the government would have Mr. [Taveras] through counsel, present his defense to the government’s puported allegation of perjury in just a few days. Of note, the government filed its motion after meeting with us earlier today — a meeting at which we challenged the government’s evidence contesting the veractiy of [Taveras’] testimony. Among other things, government counsel conceded that the government did not believe [Taveras] engaged in obstructive conduct; and, in the heated colloquy that followed, government counsel blurted out that they believed Mr. Nauta had been untruthful to his colleagues concerning certain events related to [Taveras’] testimony, a fact wholly irrelevant to whether [Taveras] had committed perjury and evidencing the government’s clear motive in filing this motion.

Third, although we do not, as a general matter, oppose the appointment of conflicts counsel to consult with and advise [Taveras,] given the serious nature of the matters under investigation by the government, we also believe he deserves — is entitled to the benefit of — a brief responding to the government’s filing in which dozens, perhaps more than a hundred, cases are cited for the Court. Again, more than three months have passed since [Taveras’] testimony with just days’ notice on the Friday before a holiday weekend when travel to and from South Florida is has already proved problematic this week is not just unnecessary, it is unfair.

Again, none of that makes sense — we know DOJ was still obtaining new evidence, including of Nauta’s phone — that would have led to increased certainty that Taveras’ initial testimony conflicted with known evidence.

In June, Woodward tried to buy time and make his own case (and claimed it benefitted Taveras to make that case).

In August, Woodward bought an entire month. In his first response, he equivocally embraced a conflict review three pages in.

Nevertheless, defense counsel does not now – and would not ever – oppose an inquiry of Mr. Nauta by the Court to assure the Court that Mr. Nauta has been advised of all his rights, including the right to conflict-free counsel, so long as such inquiry is conducted ex parte and under seal.

This time around, having spent another month consulting with Nauta, Woodward led with support for a hearing at which Nauta would be asked if he had been advised of his right to conflict-free counsel.

This Court should hold a hearing pursuant to United States v. Garcia, 517 F.2d 272 (5th Cir. 1975), to conduct an ex parte inquiry1 of Defendant Waltine Nauta as to whether he has been apprised of his rights, including the right to conflict-free counsel.

And in spite of the fact that Woodward bought this delay, in part, by claiming that DOJ had raised new information — they hadn’t; It was in a sealed filing — Woodward didn’t address one of the newly public details in DOJ’s filing: that they had raised his payment by Trump’s PAC in the conflict motion.

That said, this whole process likely isn’t for Woodward’s benefit, or Nauta’s. It is for Judge Cannon.

Among the things Woodward’s exhibits revealed is that DOJ had already alerted Judge Cannon to the conflicts twice before they filed their motion for a Garcia hearing.

We would also note that the court is already aware of the conflicts issue given that the government previously called this to the court’s attention – twice.

Cannon was already aware of these potential conflicfts.

And she did nothing.

Update: DOJ filed a reply in the parallel motion with Carlos De Oliveira, insisting on a hearing even if John Irving has gotten the other witnesses new lawyers.

The Secrets within Donald Trump’s Stolen Secrets Docket

As described here, yesterday’s reply on the motion for a Garcia hearing in the stolen documents case revealed a good deal of grand jury information about Yuscil Taveras’ testimony.

It revealed:

  • Trump’s IT worker, Taveras, testified (falsely, the government claims) in March
  • DOJ obtained two more subpoenas for surveillance footage, on June 29 and July 11, 2023 (the existence of those subpoenas, but not the date, had already been disclosed in a discovery memo)
  • It included the docket number associated with the conflict review — 23-GJ-46 — and cited Woodward’s response to the proceedings
  • James Boasberg provided Taveras with conflict counsel
  • Taveras changed his testimony after consulting with an independent counsel

Under grand jury secrecy rules, DC Chief Judge Boasberg would have had to approve sharing that information, but the docket itself remains sealed and Boasberg has not unsealed any of the proceedings.

The filing also explains two sealed entries in Judge Cannon’s docket: dockets 45 and 46.

DOJ informed Cannon of the grand jury proceedings in those two docket entries.

The Government notified this Court on the same day, by sealed notice, of the filing in the District of Columbia. See ECF Nos. 45, 46.

That explains, then, two of the multiple sealed entries on the docket. But those weren’t the only sealed dockets.

There was one before DOJ’s notice.

And one after.

Both of those may be orders from Cannon, since she wouldn’t have to ask for permission to file something under seal.

There’s the twin entry on August 2, in which DOJ asked to seal what was probably a description of the potential conflict involving Stan Woodward’s representation of three other witnesses who may testify against Walt Nauta.

Judge Cannon ordered those to be stricken.

Then there were five more — or more likely, two, and then three — on August 11 and 14.

All those sealed docket entries took place before — yesterday’s filing disclosed — the grand jury “completed its term” on August 17.

The Government notes that the grand jury in the District of Columbia completed its term on August 17, 2023.

DC grand juries generally sit for 18 months, but if this was a special grand jury focused only on this investigation (which has always been the assumption), it would have been convened (again, per the filing), in April, 2022, two months shy of that.

There’s no guarantee those other docket entries pertain to the DC grand jury. But it’s one possible explanation for the sealed entries.

Certainly, DOJ afforded itself of the opportunity presented by Cannon’s order to brief what she called “the legal propriety of using an out-of-district grand jury proceeding to continue to investigate and/or to seek post-indictment hearings on matters pertienent to the instant indicted matter in this district.

Waltine Nauta shall file a response to the Motion for a Garcia hearing [ECF No. 97] on or before August 17, 2023. Among other topics as raised in the Motion, the response shall address the legal propriety of using an out-of-district grand jury proceeding to continue to investigate and/or to seek post-indictment hearings on matters pertinent to the instant indicted matter in this district. The Special Counsel shall respond to that discussion in a Reply in Support of the Motion [ECF No. 97], due on or before August 22, 2023.

As DOJ’s reply noted, this wasn’t post-indictment investigation. Rather, it was pre-indictment investigation for the indictment adding Carlos De Oliveira and adding new charges against Trump and Nauta. And DOJ had to deal with all that in DC, because that’s where Taveras’ gave his original false testimony.

Following the indictment in this district, it was appropriate to use the grand jury in the District of Columbia to investigate false statements by Trump Employee 4 and De Oliveira. Neither individual was named in the indictment against Nauta and Trump, and venue for charges based upon their false statements in the District of Columbia would lie only in that district. It therefore necessarily follows that the grand jury was not used “for the primary purpose of strengthening its case on a pending indictment or as a substitute for discovery,” even if that “may be an incidental benefit.” United States v. Beasley, 550 F.2d 261, 266 (5th Cir. 1977).


A claim of improper use of the grand jury here is even further afield than in Beasley. Whereas the recanted testimony in Beasley was relevant only to the charges pending in the indictment, as described above, Trump Employee 4’s corrected testimony is probative of “crimes not covered in the indictment.” US Infrastructure, Inc., 576 F.3d at 1214.

Not only was it appropriate to use the grand jury to investigate false statements by Trump Employee 4 and De Oliveira, it was appropriate to use the grand jury in the District of Columbia, where the statements were made and where venue for any false-statement charges would be proper. See United States v. John, 477 F. App’x 570, 572 (11th Cir. 2012) (unpublished) (concluding that venue for a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001 is “proper only in the district or districts where the defendant made the false statement”); United States v. Paxson, 861 F.2d 730, 733-34 (D.C. Cir. 1988) (upholding conviction for perjurious grand jury testimony in the District of Columbia material to antitrust charges subsequently brought in the Northern District of Georgia). And it was necessary to bring to the attention of the Chief Judge in that district the potential conflict that arose from Mr. Woodward’s representation of Trump Employee 4 in those proceedings. As “an incident of [its] supervisory power, a court has jurisdiction” to consider potential conflicts of interest that “relate[] to a grand jury proceeding within that court’s control,” and when the Government discerns such a potential conflict of interest, it “is not only authorized but is in fact obligated to bring the problem to that court’s attention.” In re Gopman, 531 F.2d 262, 265-66 (5th Cir. 1976).

Nauta is therefore incorrect when he claims (ECF No. 126 at 8) that the Government was “attempt[ing] to diminish the Court’s authority over the proceedings in this case and to undermine attorney-client relationships.” When a conflict arose in the context of Trump Employee 4’s status as a putative defendant in the District of Columbia, the Government raised the conflicts issue there; now that a conflict arises from potential cross-examination of Trump Employee 4 in the case against Nauta in this district, the Government has raised the conflicts issue here. Nauta makes no showing of improper use of the grand jury, let alone the strong showing that is required to rebut the presumption of regularity in grand jury proceedings.

There’s far more secrecy than there should be, for the prosecution of the former President, even accounting for the highly sensitive documents involved.

Not only has Cannon made it prohibitively difficult for the media to cover the proceedings, but she canceled an open hearing scheduled for August 25 in lieu of a sealed hearing — secret time, secret place — to discuss the classified protective order. She did that while refusing to let DOJ protect the secrecy of the grand jury in DC.

It’s her courtroom, and if she wants to pick and choose which proceedings against the former President become public, to some degree that’s her prerogative.

Having been forced to unseal these matters by Cannon’s order, though, this filing (and in the Garcia motion pertaining to John Irving), DOJ laid out how damning the alternative can be.

Judge Cannon Blows Off Concerns about Walt Nauta’s Conflicted Representation

Before I attempt to explain the substance of the order that Aileen Cannon issued in response to DOJ’s request for a Garcia hearing, let me point out how it looks on the docket.

Before DOJ filed its motion for a hearing on potential conflicts, it tried to submit something under seal in dockets 95 and 96 — probably details on the two other witnesses whose representation by Stan Woodward may present a conflict. Judge Cannon said the government hadn’t provided sufficient reason to seal, and so ordered the request, and the sealed information, to be struck.

Simultaneously, the Special Counsel moves for leave [ECF No. 95] to file under seal a “Supplement” containing additional information “to facilitate the Court’s inquiry” [ECF No. 96; see ECF No. 97 p. 2 n.2, p. 6]. The Special Counsel states in conclusory terms that the supplement should be sealed from public view “to comport with grand jury secrecy,” but the motion for leave and the supplement plainly fail to satisfy the burden of establishing a sufficient legal or factual basis to warrant sealing the motion and supplement.

2. The Special Counsel’s motion for leave to file under seal [ECF No. 95] is DENIED.

3. The Clerk is directed to STRIKE from the docket sealed entries 95 and 96.

Before her order, there were two more docket entries missing — numbers 98 and 99. I’m not familiar enough with SDFL’s docketing rules to understand whether there’s something under seal in those dockets or not, but there could be. Perhaps Stan Woodward submitted something?

Then there’s Cannon’s order. Rather than scheduling a Garcia hearing to see whether Woodward can adequately represent Nauta going forward, she instead ordered briefing — adding two more weeks of delay, but more importantly, delaying the question of whether Woodward can represent Nauta without conflict.

Her order for briefing focuses primarily on something else: whether DOJ was pulling a fast one by using a non-SDFL grand jury to pursue matters pertinent to the SDFL matter before her.

Waltine Nauta shall file a response to the Motion for a Garcia hearing [ECF No. 97] on or before August 17, 2023. Among other topics as raised in the Motion, the response shall address the legal propriety of using an out-of-district grand jury proceeding to continue to investigate and/or to seek post-indictment hearings on matters pertinent to the instant indicted matter in this district. The Special Counsel shall respond to that discussion in a Reply in Support of the Motion [ECF No. 97], due on or before August 22, 2023. The remaining Defendants may, but are not required to, file briefs of their own related to the grand jury issue referenced herein, but any such briefs are due by August 17, 2023, and may be submitted in combined or individual fashion.

1 This request for supplemental briefing is not intended to substitute and/or to limit any future motion brought pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 12(b). [my emphasis]

Contrary to some commentary on this, Cannon did not disclose the continued activity in the DC grand jury (bolded above). That was made clear both in DOJ’s motion for a Garcia hearing and in other materials.

The grand jury in this district and a grand jury in the District of Columbia continued to investigate further obstructive activity, and a superseding indictment was returned on July 27, 2023.

Woodward and Trump’s lawyers have been outspoken that they intend to question whether DOJ should have investigated this from the start in DC, or whether it should always have been in SDFL supervised by SDFL’s chief judge.

That issue was frivolous: DOJ didn’t know when the investigation was predicated where potential crimes happened.

This may be frivolous too. After all, most witnesses who testified before May testified in DC. So if one of them committed perjury, they would have to clean that up in DC (and that may be what happened with Taveras, either on his own or as part of a plea agreement).

But Cannon — perhaps prompted under seal by one of the defendants — seems intent on making it a big deal. And she made it clear that this set of briefing will be in addition to further motion practice, including motions complaining about misuse of a grand jury.

And it may well not be frivolous. DOJ is not permitted to use grand juries to continue to investigate an already charged crime. DOJ was explicit that it was not. It was investigating other kinds of obstruction. But we don’t know. And because Cannon struck DOJ’s sealed motion, she may have struck a perfectly reasonable explanation for all this, and instead left a sealed one from the defense.

This would be not dissimilar to a stunt Woodward pulled before Judge Trevor McFadden a few weeks ago, where he showed up late for Freddie Klein’s representations and — without prosecutors present — made accusations about what went down in a grand jury session that day with another of his clients.

The thing that matters in the short term, though, is Cannon seems to have no interest in walking Nauta through ways that Woodward’s continued representation of him may be a problem. And whatever other inquiry she may feels is necessary — whether frivolous or meritorious — she is causing at least two more weeks of delay before she’ll deal with that potential conflict.

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.

Discoveries in the Stolen Document Discovery

As I noted in this post, the government provided a supplemental discovery notice yesterday. It included the following:

  • CCTV provided by Trump Org on May 9 and May 12 in response to an April 27 subpoena
  • CCTV obtained after June 8 pertaining to new obstruction allegations (DOJ does not confirm whether this came from Trump Org or not)
  • All 302s finalized by yesterday (302s are what the FBI calls interview reports)
  • All grand jury transcripts in government’s possession

The discovery confirms that the government took certain steps after June 8 to add Carlos De Oliveira to the indictment. There are two kinds of surveillance footage that appear in that section of the indictment: from De Oliveira and Walt Nauta’s stomping around trying to understand what surveillance footage there would be, including looking right at the key cameras in the hallway outside the storage room, as well as their discussions in the bushes just off Mar-a-Lago property.

The reference to location data may mean they obtained De Oliveira’s phone account.

The discovery also means that, if DOJ was using another grand jury, in addition to the DC and SDFL ones, Trump is now aware of it, because DOJ has turned over all transcripts in their possession (past notices had specified the two grand juries).

Finally, the discovery also describes that DOJ subpoenaed Trump Organization for yet more surveillance footage in April, which Trump Org turned over on May 9 and 12. That subpoena was already public; NYT reported it in May.

Prosecutors have also issued several subpoenas to Mr. Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, seeking additional surveillance footage from Mar-a-Lago, his residence and private club in Florida, people with knowledge of the matter said. While the footage could shed light on the movement of the boxes, prosecutors have questioned a number of witnesses about gaps in the footage, one of the people said.

The timing is interesting though. It comes after — per this WaPo report — Carlos De Oliveira was informed he might be charged after he claimed not to remember the dates when Trump returned to Mar-a-Lago in July 2022 (note: this “proffer” session sounds more like an interview conducted under a limited proffer before a grand jury appearance).

For one thing, De Oliveira said he did not remember his boss coming back to Mar-a-Lago in July, the people said. Trump tended to stay away from the Florida summer heat, and it did not seem likely to some investigators that De Oliveira would forget the former president showing up twice in two weeks.

The prosecutors’ dissatisfaction came to a head in mid-April, when De Oliveira was given a proffer session — an interview in which a prosecutor and a defense lawyer meet with a person to decide if they have valuable information to offer an investigation, the kind that could lead to a plea deal.

If prosecutors grew convinced De Oliveira was lying, they may have pulled his grand jury appearance. His charged false statements were in a January 13, 2023 interview at his Florida residence, not this appearance in what may still have been DC.

In the same time frame as this subpoena for additional surveillance footage, DOJ also subpoenaed Trump’s business records from the Saudi LIV tournament.

One of the previously unreported subpoenas to the Trump Organization sought records pertaining to Mr. Trump’s dealings with a Saudi-backed professional golf venture known as LIV Golf, which is holding tournaments at some of Mr. Trump’s golf resorts.

A later NYT story reported that the subpoenas were broader: to include foreign deals with a variety of countries.

The subpoena — drafted by the office of the special counsel, Jack Smith — sought details on the Trump Organization’s real estate licensing and development dealings in seven countries: China, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, according to the people familiar with the matter. The subpoena sought the records for deals reached since 2017, when Mr. Trump was sworn in as president.

And then, after those subpoenas but before Trump Org complied with them, the Matthews Calamari testified about why Walt Nauta sent Calamari senior a text in the time frame when he and De Oliveira were allegedly stomping around Mar-a-Lago attempting to implement Trump’s order to destroy surveillance footage.

Both Calamaris testified to the federal grand jury in Washington on Thursday, and were questioned in part on a text message that Trump’s valet, Walt Nauta, had sent them around the time that the justice department last year asked for the surveillance footage, one of the people said.

The text message is understood to involve Nauta asking Matthew Calamari Sr to call him back about the justice department’s request,

In that same April time frame, DOJ was also asking about loyalty oaths before being given Trump-paid attorneys to represent them — the fruit of which questions likely show up in ¶91 of the superseding indictment.

Another line of inquiry that prosecutors have been pursuing relates to how Mr. Trump’s aides have helped hire and pay for lawyers representing some of the witnesses in investigations related to the former president. They have been trying to assess whether the witnesses were sized up for how much loyalty they might have to Mr. Trump as a condition of providing assistance, according to people briefed on the matter.

It was after that, though, after the first indictment on June 8 which may have helped demonstrate the seriousness of this inquiry, when per CNN reporting the following happened with Yuscil Taveras, the IT guy who said he didn’t have the rights, on his own, to delete surveillance footage:

  • Receives a target letter
  • Decides he wants to be more forthcoming
  • Gets a new lawyer (reportedly after a conflict review instigated by a judge)
  • Testifies about the request De Oliveira made inside the sound room and his own response that De Oliveira would have to call people who might be one of the Calamaris

In that same period, per yesterday’s discovery letter, that DOJ obtained more surveillance footage and possibly the warrant tracking location data.

One note: If people testified before the grand jury in DC before Jack Smith moved to present charges in SDFL, they would have separate exposure for perjury there.

Here’s my track of what DOJ has turned over when (with links to the documents below).


June 21, 2023: Response Discovery Order

June 23, 2023: Motion to Implement Special Conditions

July 6, 2023: Supplemental Response Discovery Order

July 10, 2023: Defendants Response Motion for Continuance

July 13, 2023: Government Reply Motion for Continuance

July 17, 2023: Supplemental Response Discovery Order

July 18, 2023: Status Hearing (Lawfare account)

July 31, 2023: Supplemental Response Discovery Order

Update: Answered two questions I’ve gotten up in the text above: First, I used “provided by Trump Org” and “obtained” in the bullets above because that’s how the filing describes these. As I’ve noted, the video showing De Oliveira and Nauta in the bushes might well have come from a different property owner.

Second, I defined 302s, which are what the FBI calls interview reports.

Stan Woodward Wants to Give Walt Nauta a Need to Know the Contents of the Stolen Documents

The headline revelation in DOJ’s renewed bid for a classified protective order in the Trump case is that Trump wants to be able to discuss classified documents with his attorneys in his offices, which the government correctly notes, “seeks permission to do so in the very location at which he is charged with willfully retaining the documents charged in this case.”

I’m sure we’ll come back to that, particularly if Judge Aileen Cannon entertains Trump’s demand seriously (under CIPA the government could immediately appeal any decision to the 11th Circuit).

But I’ve been more interested in Walt Nauta’s demand: that he get to see all the stolen classified documents charged in the indictment.

Defendant Nauta objects to language that limits his personal access to classified information, as opposed to access by his cleared counsel;


Defendant Nauta is charged only with obstruction and false statement offenses related the movement and concealment of Defendant Trump’s boxes; the contents of the classified documents contained in the boxes, and the national defense information that they contain, are not material to proving or defending against those charges. Moreover, Defendant Nauta’s counsel will have the opportunity to review the classified discovery, and should they see a need to share any particular classified documents with Defendant Nauta, counsel will have an opportunity to raise the issue with the Government and the Court.1

1 The Government intends to provide to Defendant Nauta’s counsel all classified discovery identified to date.


As explained, Defendant Nauta has no need to review the contents of the classified information. His cleared counsel will have full access to the documents in preparing his defense, and the protective order will allow Nauta to seek permission to review classified information personally if he establishes a need to know. The procedure set forth in the Government’s proposed protective order appropriately balances the need to protect classified information while allowing Defendant Nauta’s counsel the ability to assess the documents.

I assume this is one more effort from Stan Woodward — who is being paid by Trump’s PAC — to test the boundaries of Judge Cannon’s indulgence, a tactical move to figure out how much the defense team can get away with.

This is, in my opinion as someone who has been covering Espionage Act cases for over 15 years, an ill-considered move.

As I noted in my first review of the original indictment, Nauta’s alleged overt acts already then fulfilled all the elements of the offense of 18 USC 793(g), conspiring with Trump to hoard classified documents, which would dramatically increase Nauta’s legal jeopardy. Already then, Nauta was at risk of being superseded with charges that expose him to over a decade of prison time, possibly two.

That’s all the more true given the additional acts in the superseding indictment.

Effectively, this demand from Woodward is a request: Please give my client a Need to Know what is in those 32 highly classified documents that Nauta wouldn’t even have had the Need to Know when he was working in the White House.

The one thing that would give Nauta a Need to Know what’s in the stolen documents — as the government intimates — is if Nauta were charged under the Espionage Act, as he could be under 18 USC 793(g).

Which brings me to a key detail in this WaPo story — which reveals that, tomorrow, Trump will disclose he has spent $40M on lawyers, eating up his campaign cash (which makes Will Hurd’s quip from the other night — that Trump is running for President to stay out of prison — pretty timely).

That’s a really important story (and will create still more damning, unprivileged documents for prosecutors to find). But WaPo’s story confirms what I suspected when I focused on ¶91 of the superseding indictment — the one that describes Trump assessing Carlos De Oliveira’s loyalty before he offered to pay for a lawyer — as, potentially, its most important.

Stan Woodward — the lawyer who has decided it’d be a good idea to ask that his client be given a Need to Know what’s in the stolen classified documents — has started to face very serious conflict problems that have been inevitable for months.

Woodward represents at least the following people (I’ll add more when I remember them):

  • Peter Navarro (who goes on trial for contempt in September)
  • Dan Scavino
  • Kash Patel
  • Walt Nauta
  • Will Russell, who testified on July 20
  • Taylor Budowich, who testified in Florida
  • Brad Parscale in AJ Delgado’s pregnancy discrimination suit against the Trump campaign
  • Kelly Meggs, who has already been sentenced for sedition
  • Freddie Klein, the former State Department official who was part of the Tunnel battle, also recently sentenced
  • Ryan Samsel, who kicked off the entire riot on January 6

Critically, Woodward was representing Yuscil Taveras, whose recent testimony is one of the things that made it possible to add Carlos De Oliveira (represented by a different Trump paid lawyer) to the indictment and include the Keystone Cops effort to delete footage. That created a conflict between Nauta’s interests and Taveras’, and someone — presumably Chief Judge James Boasberg — appointed a conflict counsel for Taveras, which is what led to Taveras becoming dramatically more forthcoming.

Nauta, who investigators long considered a key witness in the classified documents investigation, has been represented for many months by lawyer Stan Woodward, with Save America footing the bills. Woodward also represents several other Trump-linked clients who have been subpoenaed as part of Smith’s investigations, including an IT worker named Yuscil Taveras.

For much of the classified documents probe, there did not appear to be a conflict between Nauta and Taveras.

After Trump and Nauta were indicted in June, however, Taveras decided he had more he wanted to tell the authorities about his conversations with De Oliveira, according to people familiar with the investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private discussions.

Taveras offered information implicating all three defendants in an alleged conspiracy to cover up evidence, these people said.

Legal ethics rules bar attorneys from arguing adverse positions in a case — such as defending one client by cross-examining another client, or advising one person who is testifying to investigators or a grand jury against another.

Once Taveras’s position put him potentially at odds with Nauta’s defense, a judge reviewed the issue, a person familiar with the matter said. A second lawyer — not paid by the PAC — was brought in to provide legal advice to Taveras, who then spoke to investigators, according to people familiar with the matter. [my emphasis]

I’ve been waiting for the moment when DOJ would ask for a conflict counsel to be appointed for Nauta: because Woodward getting paid by a PAC that is under investigation for this spending is, by itself, a potential conflict. But this describes that a judge, probably Boasberg, brought in a conflict counsel for Taveras.

It’s not clear whether Taveras has flipped or just gotten far more cooperative — he fits the description of a person who had received a target letter, so the decision to be more forthcoming may have been entirely about self-preservation.

But Taveras has not only provided damaging testimony about Nauta, De Oliveira, and Trump, but he likely can explain who from Trump Organization in New York participated in the still uncharged successful efforts to delete surveillance footage, who might be able to give someone the rights to do that.

That is, he likely has testimony that could implicate the Matthews Calamari, key players in Trump’s corporate empire.

More importantly, prosecutors will do with Taveras what DOJ did with Cassidy Hutchinson after she described that Stefan Passantino was discouraging her from being all that forthcoming: ask more about the nature of that legal arrangement. They may also ask about Susie Wiles’ role in it (which is also laid out in the WaPo article), which also came up in even Hutchinson’s publicly released testimony about these matters.

And Wiles, of course, is not only the person arranging all this conflicted legal representation for people and now running Trump’s campaign, but she’s also someone who has been involved in the use of the documents; she is also reportedly the person to whom Trump showed a classified document in Bedminster she was not cleared to see.

It’s not just that Trump is spending more on lawyers than he is taking in. But he’s spending on lawyers whose conflicts make this entire scheme a fragile game of jenga.

One that may have started to fall apart.

Update: Trump Employee 5 in the superseding indictment must also have given testimony, which may also be fairly recent. Given that he’s the kind of person who’d be consulted about loyalty, he presumably also was part of the in-house lawyering team.

Update: NYT has their own version of this preemptive limited hangout of Trump’s financial shell game. It mentions the potential legal problem with using funds raised for election security to pay lawyers, but steers clear of the ongoing investigation into it.

The PAC was the entity in which Mr. Trump had parked the more than $100 million raised when he sought small-dollar donations after losing the 2020 election. Mr. Trump claimed he needed the support to fight widespread fraud in the race. Officials, including some with his campaign, turned up no evidence of widespread fraud.

Mr. Trump used some of that $100 million for other politicians and political activities in 2022, but he also used it to pay more than $16 million in legal fees, most of them related to investigations into him, and at least $10 million of which was for his own personal fees.

Save America began 2023 with just $18 million in cash on hand, which is less than half of what was spent on legal bills this year.

Campaign finance experts are divided on whether Mr. Trump is even able to continue to use the PAC to pay for his personal legal bills, as he became a candidate last November.

Update: CNN has confirmed the timeline: Taveras got a target letter after the first indictment, then ditched Woodward, then testified.

Yuscil Taveras, a Mar-a-Lago employee who oversees the property’s surveillance cameras, received a target letter from federal prosecutors after former President Donald Trump was first indicted in June on charges related to his alleged mishandling of classified documents after leaving office, sources told CNN.


After receiving the target letter, Taveras changed lawyers because his attorney, Stan Woodward, also represented Nauta, which presented a conflict, sources said.

Update: Added two more Woodward clients.

Update: Added another Woodward client.

May 20, 2024: Aileen Cannon’s Still Not Totally Unreasonable Order

Judge Aileen Cannon has set a date for Donald Trump’s second criminal trial: May 20, 2024, to follow a second rape trial (in December) and a hush payments cover-up trial (in March).

Rape, sex workers, and then stolen classified documents, that’s what Trump will be doing as he tries to run for President.

Her order is not, on its face, unreasonable. It sets a CIPA trial for 49 weeks after it was charged, which is solidly within the scope of what it normally takes to bring these cases to trial. She has made this a complex case which is similarly not unreasonable.

The most unreasonable part of her order, thus far, is that she set the trial to be held in her tiny courtroom in Fort Pierce, making it utterly unworkable for the press.

Calendar call in this matter will be held on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, at 1:45 p.m. in the Fort Pierce Division. The case is set for Jury Trial in the Fort Pierce Division during the two-week trial period commencing on May 20, 2024.

The second most unreasonable part of her order is that she has treated the classified protective order as a month-long fully briefed affair, effectively absolving Trump and his co-defendant of conferring like grown-ups, such that classified discovery might not begin until after August 25, two months of delay she is adding to this timeline on top of the three months of delay she created last year.

Finally, she deferred on the question of whether the election will make jury selection next May impossible.

Defendants identify various additional factors the Court deems unnecessary to resolution of the Government’s motion at this juncture, most principally the likelihood of insurmountable prejudice in jury selection stemming from publicity about the 2024 Presidential Election [ECF No. 66 p. 9].

Again, this is not unreasonable, at least thus far. But she is letting Trump and Walt Nauta stall by obstructing from the outset.

Moving the Boxes: Trump’s Valet and Alleged Co-Conspirator Buys the Boss a Three-Week Delay in His Trial

According to the motion to seal filed in his case, DOJ warned Walt Nauta he was a target of the stolen documents case on May 24, 34 days ago.

After he and his boss were indicted on June 8, he was issued a judicial summons, alerting him that his prosecution would take place in the Southern District of Florida, which has strict rules requiring a local attorney to appear and remain counsel, and scheduling a June 13 arraignment. That was 19 days ago.

But Nauta was not arraigned on June 13, as Trump was, because he had not yet arranged for local counsel.

That delay was totally excusable. There aren’t that many people in SDFL who are qualified for a case like this in the first place. And those that are may balk at the pre-existing conflict structure here, with Stan Woodward paid by Trump’s PAC, which itself is under criminal investigation. And those aren’t the only ethical concerns I would have about taking on this case.

But today’s delay is far less defensible. Particularly given the theater Woodward created surrounding the event.

Woodward made much of the fact that poor Walt Nauta was stuck on the tarmack yesterday at Newark Airport with flight delays and cancellations due to the same bad weather that I was planning around last Saturday when I was in New York state.

That was all a distraction. Nauta’s presence wasn’t required at the arraignment. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman excused Nauta’s attendance at today’s hearing during Trump’s arraignment.

You only tell that story in a court room to get credulous journalists — like CNN — to report that as the primary reason for the delay. It had no legal import. (Note: Most initial Twitter coverage parroted Woodward’s weather excuse, but most outlets fixed that on publication of their stories.)

The rain had nothing to do with today’s delay. Nauta’s failure, thus far, to retain a Florida attorney was the only reason for the delay.

And there’s certainly reason to wonder whether that delay is intentional. Marc Caputo’s report on Nauta’s search for a Florida lawyer quotes someone “familiar with the discussions” stating that the trial won’t happen before the election, so (or perhaps, “because”) “there’s no rush to” find a lawyer.

The pace of hiring an attorney for Nauta has been slow — as has been the speed with which Trump is beefing up his own criminal defense team. Nauta continues to work for Trump’s organization and Trump’s political committee is financing his employee’s legal representation.

“If you ask three different people in Trump world what’s going on, you’ll get five different answers,” said the source familiar with discussions. “But the reality is there’s no rush to do this. This seems to be their posture: ‘The case is probably going to happen after the election anyway [on Nov. 5, 2024]. So what’s the rush?’”

Speaking to the Messenger before Tuesday’s arraignment hearing got delayed, the source said Nauta would likely have a lawyer within the coming weeks.

So now Nauta is not scheduled to be arraigned until July 6 (his personal appearance has again been excused), a full four weeks after his indictment, and the same day on which Judge Cannon has ordered the defense to weigh in on proposed schedule for the trial.

This is, in my opinion, why Jay Bratt proposed a schedule showing that it is possible to try this case such that it would be done — even assuming three weeks of jury selection and three weeks of trial — before the first primary. Any delay past that schedule comes from Trump. And his alleged co-conspirator, Walt Nauta, whose job is to move boxes for the boss.

What is going to happen is that Trump will cause enough of a delay to push this into the primary season, and once that primary season trial happens, he will wail about how the trial interferes with his right to be elected President on false claims again, so he can steal more classified documents.

And his trusty valet, Walt Nauta, has just bought 23 days of delay for his arraignment to help ensure that happens. He’s moving the boxes again to help his boss obstruct justice.

Update: WSJ has since updated a story that included only the storm excuse to note that the real reason for the delay was that Nauta has not yet retained a lawyer.