During a contentious hearing for one codefendant on Wednesday, Special Counsel Jack Smith’s prosecutors in the classified documents case against former President Donald Trump responded petulantly to U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon.

During the Wednesday hearing, the Florida-based judge admonished prosecutor David Harbach after he retorted that attorneys for defendant Walt Nauta were presenting a “garbage argument” while seeking to have the charges against him dismissed. Nauta, who still works for Trump, was charged with assisting in the mishandling of classified documents later found at Mar-a-Lago.

Nauta’s lawyer challenged Harbach, questioning whether his team, led by Smith, had withheld exculpatory evidence from a meeting with another defense attorney, Stanley Woodward, who has previously argued that Nauta is being subjected to “selective and vindictive prosecution.”

Investigative reporter Julie Kelly revealed the previously redacted details of attorney Stanley Woodward’s meeting with DOJ prosecutor Jay Bratt. During the meeting, they discussed Nauta’s trial. A document describing the meeting, which special counsel Jack Smith sought to keep redacted, alleges that Bratt threatened to discredit Woodward, who was being considered for a judgeship unless he dropped Nauta as a client.


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According to Politico, Harbach described Woodward’s account of the meeting as a “fantasy” that “did not happen.” Bratt, who attended the hearing but did not speak, observed as Harbach accused Nauta of lying to investigators and the grand jury, moving boxes, and deleting videos. The prosecutor asserted that no other defendant’s alleged criminal activities came close to Nauta’s. “Show me someone who has done all that and I’ll show you someone indicted,” he said.

Cannon did not rule on the motion to dismiss, stating she would take it “under advisement.” “The reprimand came after Harbach became agitated when Cannon asked him whether prosecutors had kept evidence of an August 2022 meeting with defense lawyer Stanley Woodward,” Politico reported. “I’m going to have to ask that you calm down,” she told Harbach.

At other moments, it was Woodward, Nauta’s attorney, who drew Cannon’s ire. She asked him to “slow down” as he hurried to outline the numerous perceived misdeeds of prosecutors since the August 8th, 2022 raid on Trump’s Florida residence. She also criticized him for being unprepared to answer a line of questioning, according to Politico.

“You should have been prepared to address this,” she said. Woodward later apologized for having been caught “flat-footed.”

Cannon has indefinitely stayed the prosecution against the former president while his Manhattan trial remains ongoing, stating earlier this month that moving forward with a May 20th trial date would unfairly infringe President Trump’s right to a fair trial.


Disclaimer: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.