I’ve been stewing on this all day and evening and it’s really bugging the hell out of me.

Look, we’ve all been justifiably worried about Judge Aileen LOOSE Cannon having learned enough from her beat downs from the appellate court last year to not be quite so blatant in her efforts to help Trump beat the rap in his National Security Case.  (Dammit!  It’s way more than “classified documents” – this is National Security!)  For me at least, ignoring a window that was available in Dec. and setting an initial date for next freaking MAY was a bad sign.  I get why Jack Smith filed the charges where he did, but with a one in four chance it would all wind up in front of Cannon wasn’t what he wanted I’m sure.

And you will NEVER, EVER convince me that it was pure random luck that despite fair odds that sure enough Cannon got the case.  Well, that’s done and there’s likely nothing that will change that.

What ticks me off is that while in early June Trump showed up for arraignment with Diet Coke valet Walt Nauta for arraignment Trump was all set.  He had his lawyer who will actually be running his defense, AND a lawyer specifically admitted to the Bar to practice in the southern District of Florida (a requirement they have – not every jurisdiction does) to specifically handle the actual arraignment and set the case over for trial.  Oh, and get a judge assigned.  Problem was, there was no one from the southern District present to represent Nauta!  Oh, his REAL lawyer (paid for by Trump) was there but he couldn’t do jack, so Nauta’s arraignment was postponed.

When he came back on the assigned date, there was a bunch of “golly gee your honor we just haven’t been able to find anyone to represent Mr. Nauta for this simple, fifteen minute process.”  So that judge who’d already expressed a bit of irritation gave him one more chance.  Nauta/his main lawyer decided not to push their luck and finally in July had someone present to take care of the short, pro forma process of Nauta entering his Not Guilty plea and that was that.

It was as EVERYONE knows classic Trump delaying bullsh*t.  Ted Baxter from the Mary Tyler Moore show would have realized it!  But they got away with it.  Cannon, not wanting to give Smith an excuse to appeal set a status hearing for Aug. 25.  She also made it clear folks had better show up and I think on this one she meant it.  Like I said, she doesn’t want Smith to have a reason to head off and go over her head and even Trump’s main lawyer realizes the position she’s in.  It’s not like there won’t be plenty of chance to puch that May trial date a few months.  Into that window where the DOJ will shut down the prosecution to avoid seeming political.

Then Smith added a third defendant.  Mar A Lago property manager Carlos De Oliveira who is as devoted to Trump as Nauta.  This seemed to come out of the blue and just as I knew they would (I’ve written how journalists got the memo from their bosses and changed their tune on how what really is a straightforward case that could be tried in Dec. was incredibly complex and that even next May was wishful thinking) started talking about how now there was no way this case would go to trial before the election.  Just as Trump wanted.

But Trump is Trump.  His lawyers might have told him it was a bad idea but he’s the boss and he decided to play the “can’t find local counsel for the arraignment” game, and his lawyers dutifully let Judge Cannon know that given the delay in even getting De Oliveira arraigned that might not happen before her next hearing was scheduled.  So THAT would have to be pushed back.  So far she doesn’t seem moved, but we’ll see.

In the meantime we can expect the same goddam games they played with Nauta.  De Oliveira will show up with his “real” lawyer, and again to the we’re so sorry (REALLY!) your honor but we can’t find a single member of the Bar in this jurisdiction to take an hour out of their day (gotta add in travel time to and from the court) to handle this simple fifteen minute process of arraignment.   Maybe you can give us another month?” routine.

This new guy should even have been given a pass to come back.  He could have and SHOULD have been arraigned today.  Given what happened with Natua I knew and so did everyone else what would happen.  And you know what?  So did that freaking judge!  There’s a simple process that gets used all the time there.  The judge should have been ready to implement it.

For those who don’t know, an arraignment is almost always a quick process.  The case is called, the lawyers for both prosecution and defense stand at their respective tables and the defendant(s) stands with his/her lawyer(s).  Either side will almost always ask for waiving formal reading of the entire indictment and almost always the other side will agree and the judge says fine.  The judge will ask the lawyers to identify themselves and who they represent, and if they haven’t done so already to “file their appearance” with the clerk.  (this is paperwork stating they are qualified to both practice law in that court and on who’s behalf they are acting in this particular case).  The judge, after making sure those details have been taken care of asks for a plea.  Almost always it’s Not Guilty and the judge states for the record the defendant’s plea, then orders the case set over for trial and that the system assign a trial judge to take over from there.  Then bangs the gavel and says “next case.”

The whole thing takes ten to fifteen minutes tops most of the time.  And that long only if one side or the other has any initial motions, such as the Protective Order the govt. asked for to prevent De Oliveira and his lawyers from discussing the case outside strict terms, and the defense arguing back and filing a motion of it’s own to delay things.  This stuff gets disposed of quickly and like I said even when there’s serious back & forth even twenty minutes is a stretch.

THAT is why an public defender can be brought in to handle an arraignment, even when the defendant doesn’t already have a main lawyer who will be the actual person running the defense!  So judges will, right on the spot summon a public defender and in less than an hour someone is there to handle the matter.

In THIS case, knowing what would happen any judge with half a brain would have literally had a public defender sitting in the gallery.  And when the games began called them up inside the railing and formally assign them to handle the arraignment.  Grant a ten or fifteen minute recess even if the main defense lawyer pitched a fit, but that would be it.  And De Oliveira would have been arraigned today and that would have been that.

i could even script it all out for you but won’t bother.  What I will say is that when round two happens the same goddam game Team Trump played with Nauta will get tried again.

There shouldn’t even be a round 2.

But there is, and what it tells me is that Cannon isn’t the only judge down there sympathetic to Trump.  That includes the Chief Judge by the way.  HE should have made sure what happened today didn’t happen.   If journalists would do their jobs they’d be hounding that Chief Judge over how Team Trump could get away with this stunt today after what happened with Nauta.  Not that the bosses would let them air/print it.  Nope, as I’ve said they want, they CRAVE an election with Trump on the GOP ticket.  For the ratings and the money those ratings would generate.

Here’s my prediction.  Today there were comments from legal talking head about how common it was for federal defendants down there to get arrested with no or little warning and show up in court without a lawyer.  And the judge pausing arraignment for a bit to get a public defender into court to handle what as I’ve noted is a simple, ROUTINE process.

How much do you want to bet we won’t be hearing any of that come tomorrow?  Nope.  Just like we went from a couple of weeks of “this is a straightforward case that can be handled in December, or January at the latest” to a couple of weeks after Trump was arraigned to a “this is an INCREDIBLY COMPLEX case and even next May is unlikely” narrative we will instead start hearing about how difficult is is for poor Mr. De Oliveira to get local counsel.  Even for a process a first year law student would be able to handle.

The whole thing makes me sick.  And ANGRY!

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  1. The head judge is a she – Cecilia Altonaga. Arraignments in this district are handled by magistrate judges, not the trial judges. That said, I don’t understand the special treatment TFG and co-conspirators are receiving. Any lawyer representing anyone in that courthouse could have been dragged in to handle the arraignment. If Loose Cannon resets her schedule (she has already published the sked for pre-trial motions, etc) based on this, we’ll know for sure the fix is in.

  2. Denis you described exactly what happens normally in these Court Hearings. In my previous life I was a Probation Officer for 23 years. And the judges don’t have any patience with games and delays with their schedules or anything that requires additional Hearings. Something’s up!!

  3. Unfortunately I’m afraid this whole case will be delayed until after the election. I’m just shaking my head. We’ve got to GOTV seriously! That Republican mega donor No label party wants to take enough votes away from Joe so that tRump has a chance. Buckle your seat belts, we all are going to be holding our breath.

  4. I’m curious where you live Denis. In most, and I’d have said all, states’ professionals must be licensed and pass whatever professional exam the state has (like the bar exam) to practice. Attorneys need this license to provide certain services-often trial representation (I’ve never heard of a paralegal representing anyone in a trial) and public attorney jobs for states, cities, feds require licensure. Most states have licenses and exams even for occupations (i.e. plumbing, electrical, etc.)-back in 2017 more than 26 on occupational exams and it is more now.

    I find it odd they are using this nonsense for Nault and the other one. Trump may say he’s footing the bill and I can see where that would give a potential attorney pause, but the bill can be addressed and sent to the actual client being represented (and this would be detailed in whatever agreement the defendant and attorney come up with-trump does not even have to enter the picture). Nault and the other one merely have to google “Florida Criminal Attorneys” and they would have someone to start with. So, what, are trump’s idiots saying they’re the only criminal attorneys in Florida? I should think even judges as moronic as cannon ought to realize that’s a boatload of crap.

    • I’ve lived in multiple states in my life, but am now a North Carolinian having transferred down here from WV for work back in 2014. (I was a Clinical Supervisor for a company that served Developmentally Disabled Adults. Became disabled myself after the transfer and got forced into early retirement and as I was in my late 50s getting other work proved to have been years of wasted effort) Yes, every lawyer must hold a license to practice law and while some states are known for their Bar exams being particularly tough to pass it’s not easy in any jurisdiction. However, once someone is admitted to a given state’s Bar it’s relatively simple to gain privileges to practice in another state/jurisdiction. Again, not easy but usually a straightforward process and attorney’s licensed by one (or more) jurisdictions get certified to practice in a different/new jurisdiction every day.

      In most states/jurisdictions being licensed by that state’s Bar is sufficient to represent a client in any court in the state. However, in federal court in Florida’s southern District there is a quirk that requires any attorney who intends to practice in federal court to obtain a specific certification from THAT specific jurisdiction. Why? I don’t know. My guess is that way back someone with juice figured limiting who could practice in federal court there would mean only a small group of lawyers would be available and those in the “club” could jack up their fees. We’re talking about lawyers after all. No matter. The rules/procedures are what they are. Get that specific certification for that specific federal jurisdiction or you can’t represent a client in federal court there. Doesn’t matter how many other places you’ve practiced, even in the state of FL and even in another federal jurisdiction in that state! Get your certificate from the Southern Federal District or else! THAT means that any person charged with a crime there HAS to have a lawyer who has been approved by that particular federal district to represent them for any court proceeding. Even something as simple as an arraignment. Even if, as will be the case here the “local counsel” won’t really be leading the defense team! But the bottom line is no local counsel, and the process can’t even begin.

      As I said, it’s common for defendants to get arrested with no notice or little notice and be booked and taken to court for arraignment. And even if they’ve got a lawyer (for whatever reason they might have one they’ve used in the past) if that lawyer hasn’t been certified to represent a client not just in federal court but in THAT specific jurisdiction then they have to get one to proceed. It’s common enough (so I’ve read/heard) that judges can instruct their clerks to call the public defender’s office and have someone sent over, and quickly to handle the arraignment at least, and get the defendant and the case “into the system.” A defendant, if they have the means is free to go out and find someone else after that. Every judge down there is familiar with all this and it’s pro forma for them.

      This of course is a very high profile case so one might argue a judge stuck in a magistrate court doing mundane stuff like arraignments might be skittish about incurring the wrath of a rich or “connected” person. So I get how/why Nauta got away with it the day Trump was arraigned but he wasn’t. Still, after that any judge down there that handles arraignments should have known to be ready for this bullsh*t. Hell, Trump is famous for his ability to employ delaying tactics! And in an increasing number of places judges are sick of it, and being made to look like toadies afraid of Trump and aren’t letting him get away with bullsh*t anymore. I’ll bet you can recall having heard/read about this. Some of us have mentioned it here in fact.

      Some legal talking heads were startled when Nauta showed up the second time and STILL didn’t have local counsel to handle his arraignment – that the judge didn’t right there and then tell him and his main counsel to sit tight while the clerk called the public defender’s office to have them send someone right then and there and get the process done. Which brings me back to my contention that anyone who didn’t think Carlos D and Team Trump wouldn’t try pulling the stunt again is about as f**king clueless as a person can be. So I am quite comfortable making my allegation that this judge is in the tank for Trump and quite willing to HELP Trump drag this sh*t out. For as long as possible. AND that the Chief Judge is probably in on the whole thing. People get hauled in for arraignment every day in that jurisdiction and every day there is someone for whom getting arrested and charged was unexpected (at least so soon) and doesn’t have a lawyer specifically credentialed to practice law in FL’s southern federal district. AND right then and there the judge calls the PD’s office and gets them local counsel to come to court so the arraignment happens that very day. THIS guy was in court yeasterday MORINING. There was PLENTY of time to get someone from the PD’s office to come to court and enter a Not Guilty plea on his behalf.


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