In a scorching courtroom showdown, a federal judge has unleashed a blistering rebuke against an attorney from special counsel Jack Smith’s office, admonishing him for “wasting the court’s time”. The dramatic face-off unfolded during a set of Florida hearings for former President Donald Trump’s co-defendants, Carlos De Oliveira and Walt Nauta, in the Mar-a-Lago documents case.
David Harbach, an attorney from Smith’s office, attempted to put forth a novel legal argument concerning a conflict of interest. However, his efforts were met with nothing but the wrath of Judge Aileen Cannon. Harbach had suggested that the attorneys representing De Oliveira and Nauta, both charged alongside Trump in the alleged mishandling of classified documents, had conflicts of interest and therefore couldn’t defend them. His argument hinged on the fact that these attorneys had previously represented three potential witnesses in the case.
However, Judge Cannon was having none of it. She fiercely criticized Harbach for citing cases from different judicial circuits outside the 11th, which could not be used as precedents. She expressed her frustration by questioning what Harbach was trying to achieve, adding that it was unclear whether he was requesting the prohibition of the attorneys from questioning their former clients or not.
The situation further escalated when Harbach tripped over his words while presenting the new argument, leading to a swift shutdown by the defense. Despite this setback, Harbach repeated the same argument in the subsequent hearing with Mr. Nauta, only to be met with a similar response from the defense.
Independent journalist and political commentator Julie Kelly took to Twitter to voice her opinion on the matter, proclaiming, “Jack Smith’s team got slapped HARD today by Judge Cannon in classified docs case. Smith is trying to disqualify defense counsel per ‘Garcia’ hearing. They tried to change their argument during proceedings today. She was having none of it. Hero.”
Judge Cannon’s final blow came when she ordered the postponement of a hearing on whether De Oliveira understood that his lawyer might have conflicts of interest. She then dropped the proverbial hammer on Smith’s team, stating, “I do want to admonish the government for frankly wasting the court’s time,” as reported by The Washington Post. She added that she was “disappointed” with the actions of Smith’s office, marking a significant setback for the special counsel’s team.