David Harbach, an attorney with the office of special counsel Jack Smith, floated a novel legal argument that garnered him the ire of Judge Aileen Cannon for “wasting the court’s time.”
In connection with a series of proceedings in Florida for former President Donald Trump’s co-defendants Carlos De Oliveira and Walt Nauta in the Mar-a-Lago documents case, the attorney claimed there was a conflict of interest.
De Oliveira and Nauta, who face charges alongside Trump for the alleged mismanagement of classified documents, were subject to motions from Harbach asserting that their attorneys had conflicts of interest and could not defend them.
Harbach argued during the concurrent hearings that there was an ethical issue with the legal counsel representing both individuals, as they had previously represented three potential witnesses in the case, but no longer do so.
The Epoch 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 subsequent hearing with Mr. Nauta, Harbach made the same argument. “The defense immediately seized upon the fact that the attorney would not be able to attack a witness’s credibility and character to defend his client, thereby delaying the proceeding.”
Judge Cannon voiced her displeasure after Harbach cited three cases from distinct judicial circuits outside of the 11th, which could not be used as precedents. She added that it was unclear what Mr. Harbach was attempting to achieve, whether he was requesting she prohibit attorneys from interrogating former clients or not.
Julie Kelly, an independent journalist and political commentator, remarked, “Judge Cannon smacked Jack Smith’s team HARD today in the classified documents case. Smith is attempting to disqualify defense counsel in accordance with the ‘Garcia’ hearing. They attempted to alter their argument during today’s proceedings. She refused to accept 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
Axios reported that Cannon ultimately ordered the postponement of a hearing to determine whether De Oliviera understood that his attorney may have conflicts of interest.
The judge then delivered the proverbial knockout blow to Smith’s legal team.
“I do want to admonish the government for frankly wasting the court’s time,” she said.
According to the Washington Post, Cannon added that she was “disappointed” by Smith’s office’s actions.