David Harbach, an attorney with special counsel Jack Smith’s office, pitched a novel legal argument that won him only the wrath of Judge Aileen Cannon for “wasting the court’s time.” The ruling pertained to 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, he was arguing a conflict of interest.
According to The Epoch Times, De Oliveira and Nauta, both facing charges alongside Trump in the alleged mishandling of classified documents were subject to motions from Harbach suggesting that their attorneys both had conflicts of interest and therefore couldn’t defend them.
In the concurrent hearings, Harbach made the argument that due to an ethical issue with legal counsel representing both men, because they had previously represented three potential witnesses in the case, although they no longer represent them.
The Times reported:
“Harbach pointed out that this meant Mr. Irving would not be able to call the character or credibility of his three former clients into question during cross-examinations, his argument did not go smoothly. He tripped over his words as he presented the new argument, which was shut down by the defense.”
In the hearing with Mr. Nauta that followed, Harbach made the same argument. “Saying the lawyer would not be able to stand up and attack a witness’s credibility and character in defense of his client, the defense immediately seized upon it, stalling the proceeding.”
Judge Cannon then vocally criticized Harbach after he cited three cases from different judicial circuits outside the 11th which therefore couldn’t be used as precedents and expressed her frustration. She added that it was unclear what Mr. Harbach was seeking to accomplish, whether he was requesting she prohibit the attorneys from questioning their former clients or not.
Independent journalist and political commentator Julie Kelly posited, “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.”
I’ll have more on this soon but 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. pic.twitter.com/drPlNTeD1i
— Julie Kelly 🇺🇸 (@julie_kelly2) October 13, 2023
The crux of the issue seems to stem from a discrepancy between Harbach’s filings and his actual argument with Cannon pointing out to him “That’s a different argument,” than what he submitted. Harbach had attempted to argue this point with the judge.
Cannon ultimately ordered the postponement of a hearing on whether De Oliviera understood that his lawyer might have conflicts of interest,” Axios reported.
The Judge then dropped the proverbial hammer on Smith’s team,
“I do want to admonish the government for frankly wasting the court’s time,”
The Washington Post reported that Cannon added that she was “disappointed” with the actions of Smith’s office.