Special Counsel Jack Smith fired back at former President Donald Trump’s aide and co-defendant Walt Nauta on Monday after his lawyer filed a motion seeking to delay a hearing scheduled for Friday.
Nauta, whose arraignment in the case over the mishandling of sensitive White House documents was twice delayed, is requesting that Judge Aileen Cannon push back the Friday conference because one of his lawyers will be attending an unrelated trial in Washington, DC.
The Trump aide also said his side needs more time to obtain the necessary security clearances needed to view the government’s evidence against him.
“An indefinite continuance is unnecessary, will inject additional delay in this case, and is contrary to the public interest,” Smith wrote in response to Nauta’s request in a court filing.
Smith also claimed that Nauta’s lead lawyer – Stanley Woodward – has failed to file the paperwork required to receive an interim security clearance.
“Perhaps more to the point, as of this writing, Mr. Woodward has yet to complete his Form SF-86, which is necessary for him to receive both an interim clearance and final adjudication, despite having been put in contact with the Litigation Security Group on June 12, some three-and-a-half weeks ago,” Smith writes.
Nauta’s original arraignment date was scrapped when he struggled to find a local attorney to represent him in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
It was pushed back a second time after stormy weather canceled his flight from Newark, NJ, to Miami.
The latest request made by Nauta’s team did not suggest a new date for the hearing on the handling of classified evidence in the case, only arguing that the Justice Department and Nauta should find a time that “is mutually agreeable to all necessary counsel of record.”
In his retort, Smith also argued that Nauta’s attorneys failed to give a reason why his Florida-based attorney, Sasha Dadan, wouldn’t be able to attend Friday’s hearing instead of Woodward.
“Almost a month has passed since the grand jury returned its indictment. There is a strong public interest in the conference occurring as originally scheduled and the case proceeding as expeditiously as possible,” Smith wrote.
Nauta, a former White House valet, is accused of moving sensitive papers around Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and club to hide them from both the 77-year-old former president’s lawyers and from federal authorities.
Woodward entered Nauta’s not guilty plea on his client’s behalf to six counts including making false statements, scheming to conceal, corrupt concealment, concealing a document in a federal probe, withholding a document or record, and conspiracy to obstruct justice.
At Trump’s bidding, prosecutors say, Nauta shifted boxes of the records so that the 45th president’s lawyers couldn’t find them — leaving them to wrongly report to federal investigators that a thorough search of Mar-a-Lago had been conducted.