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Jack Smith’s Top Prosecutor Loses It in Court, Judge Cannon Snaps Back: ‘Calm Down’

Prosecutors in the classified documents case against former President Donald Trump gave a petulant response to Judge Aileen Cannon during a contentious hearing for one codefendant.

During the Wednesday hearing, the Florida U.S. district judge admonished prosecutor David Harbach after he shot back that attorneys for defendant Walt Nauta were presenting a “garbage argument” while seeking to have his charges dismissed. Nauta, who still works for President Trump, was charged with assisting in the mishandling of classified documents later located at Mar-a-Lago.

Nauta’s lawyer challenged Harbach about whether his team, led by special counsel Jack Smith, withheld exculpatory evidence dating back to a meeting with another defense attorney, Stanley Woodward, who has previously contended that Nauta has been subjected to a “selective and vindictive prosecution.”

Investigative reporter Julie Kelly revealed the previously redacted story of attorney Woodward’s meeting with DOJ prosecutor Jay Bratt where they met to discuss Nauta’s trial. A document describing the meeting, which Smith sought to keep redacted, alleges Bratt threatened to badmouth Woodward while he was being considered for a judgeship unless he dropped Nauta as a client.

Harbach called Woodward’s description of the meeting a “fantasy” that “did not happen,” according to Politico. Bratt, who was at the hearing but did not speak, watched while Harbach accused Nauta of lying to investigators, lying to the grand jury, moving boxes and deleting videos. No other defendant’s alleged criminal activities come close, stated the prosecutor.

“Show me someone who has done all that and I’ll show you someone indicted,” he said.

Judge Cannon did not rule on the motion to dismiss, saying she would take it “under advisement” but reprimanded Harbach for his aggressive posture as well as whispering with others on his team while a defense lawyer was speaking.

“I’m going to have to ask that you calm down,” she told Harbach.

At other times, it was Woodward, Nauta’s attorney, who earned Cannon’s ire. She asked him to “slow down” while he raced to cover the many perceived misdeeds of prosecutors since the August 8th, 2022 raid of Trump’s Florida resident and criticized him for being unprepared to answer a line of questioning, the outlet reported.

“You should have been prepared to address this,” she said.

Woodward later apologized for having been caught “flat-footed.”

Smith has charged President Trump with 32 federal charges related to the documents in his possession which he claimed were declassified under the Presidential Records Act. Under the Espionage Act, Smith alleges that Trump took criminal possession of classified documents containing national security secrets that he intended to keep as mementos from his time in the White House.

Judge 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.

“The Court also determines that finalization of a trial date at this juncture—before resolution of the myriad and interconnected pre-trial and CIPA issues remaining and forthcoming—would be imprudent and inconsistent with the Court’s duty to fully and fairly consider the various pending pre-trial motions before the Court, critical CIPA issues, and additional pretrial and trial preparations necessary to present this case to a jury,” Judge Cannon wrote.

“The Court therefore vacates the current May 20, 2024, trial date (and associated calendar call), to be reset by separate order following resolution of the matters before the Court, consistent with Defendants’ right to due process and the public’s interest in the fair and efficient administration of justice.”

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