Judge presiding over Trump documents says prosecution is "wasting the court’s time"

 October 13, 2023

Special Counsel Jack Smith experienced an uncomfortable moment this week after the judge overseeing former President Donald Trump's classified documents case accused his team of wasting her time.

According to The Messenger, U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon voiced that complaint during a hearing on Thursday.

Questions surrounding possible conflict of interest with defense lawyers

The Messenger noted that Cannon had been set to preside over separate hearings for Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos De Oliveira and Trump aide Walt Nauta.

Nauta was indicted in June alongside Trump on charges that he helped the former president mishandle classified documents while De Oliveira was hit with similar charges a month later.

The hearings were intended to address whether there is a conflict of interest stemming from the fact that both men are being represented by lawyers who also represented witnesses in the case.

The Guardian reported that during his hearing, De Oliveira told Cannon that he was aware of the potential for a conflict stemming from his decision to retain John Irving as his lawyer, saying, "I want to continue to move forward with Mr. Irving."

Jude "disappointed" with prosecution

However, Cannon opted to reschedule Nauta's hearing on the grounds that Smith's team had raised questions about defense lawyer Stanley Woodward that were not in the brief they submitted.

When the prosecution asked for an "absolute bar" on Woodward cross examining witnesses he previously represented, Cannon signaled that her patience was wearing thin.

"I do want to admonish the government for frankly wasting the court’s time," the judge said before adding that a new hearing would be needed.

Cannon added that she was "disappointed" that special counsel legal team member David Harbach had not asked for the restriction earlier and did not point to supporting cases from her district.

Woodward mentioned in August court filing

Prosecutor Jay Bratt previously raised concerns over Woodward's potential conflict of interest in a court filing submitted two months ago.

"A hearing would permit a colloquy with Mr. Woodward’s clients to inform them of potential risks and inquire into possible waivers," Bratt wrote.

"The Court may also wish to procure independent counsel to be present at the hearing and available to advise Mr. Woodward’s clients regarding the potential conflicts, should they wish to receive such advice," Bratt added.

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