Bannons Lawyer Claims Communication: At a court hearing on Thursday, a lawyer for Steve Bannon said that he and Mr. Bannon have had “a complete breakdown in communication.” The lawyer and a New York judge then got into a heated argument, which quickly took over the routine hearing.
At the start of the session in the State Supreme Court in Manhattan, Mr. Bannon’s lawyer, David Schoen, said he wanted to drop out of the case. He said that Mr. Bannon, a friend of former President Donald J. Trump, had the right to choose whoever he wanted to represent him, no questions asked.
“With all due respect, I think you’re completely wrong,” Judge Juan M. Merchan said in response to the claim that Mr. Bannon could choose any lawyer he wanted. If Mr. Bannon was given all the time he needed to find a lawyer, the case could be put off indefinitely.
The judge’s answer was the first sign that the hearing would be full of the chaos that often surrounds Mr. Bannon, a right-wing pundit, political operator, and podcaster who recently suggested that Mr. Trump be chosen as speaker of the House.
Between Mr. Schoen and the judge, a heated back-and-forth could be heard throughout the high-ceilinged downtown courtroom. In September, the Manhattan district attorney’s office said that Mr. Bannon had scammed people who gave money to an organization that wanted to help build a wall along the southern border.
The federal government charged Mr. Bannon with similar crimes in 2020, but Mr. Trump cleared him before he left the White House. In the fall, there will be a trial. Mr. Bannon was supposed to go to court last month, but the hearing was put off because his lawyers said they couldn’t figure out what to do with their client.
On Thursday, Mr. Schoen explained these situations in a roundabout way by saying, “If a defendant and his lawyers can’t talk to each other at all ——.” Mr. Schoen began. Justice Merchan cut him off before he could finish and told him to speak clearly.
Mr. Schoen obliged. He said, “There has been a clear break in communication.” “Mr. Bannon and his lawyers do not talk to each other directly about this case. We can only talk to each other through a third-party lawyer.” Mr. Schoen said they couldn’t agree on how to defend themselves or much else.
Justice Merchan’s anger was unusual because, for the most part, he didn’t seem upset during the trial of Mr. Trump’s company, which he also oversaw. Mr. Schoen said after the hearing that he and the judge “really hit it off today.“
He said that even though he wasn’t talking to Mr. Bannon about the wall case anymore, they were still on good terms, and he was even representing him in another case. It was not clear why they could no longer talk about this particular case.
Mr. Bannon, on the other hand, only talked about the Brazilian election, which he said, without any proof, had been “stolen.” During the hearing, he didn’t say anything when the prosecutor, Daniel Passenger, noted that the withdrawal of Mr. Schoen and his law partner, John W. Mitchell, would be “a nonissue” if Mr. Bannon hadn’t been “effectively delaying the case” by not talking to his lawyer.
Bannon’s Lawyer Claims Communication Breakdown in Border Wall Case (Jonah E. Bromwich/New York Times) https://t.co/rV77RiXu2y pic.twitter.com/8NrF9MoDME
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But Mr. Passeser said he would not complain as long as the case went as planned. It looked like that made Mr. Schoen angry. He noted that Mr. Passeser had left out something “pretty important.” Then he started talking about the vast amount of evidence and other documents in the case, which Mr. Schoen said was more than the number of books in the Library of Congress.
The judge did not feel anything. Justice Merchan said, “You’ve said that about 20 times.” After more sharp words, the judge told the lawyers to come up to the bench, where they had a conversation that couldn’t be heard. The judge then spoke to Mr. Schoen again.
He said, “I’m sorry you feel like you were dragged into this when you didn’t want to be.” “You and your client will be treated the same as every other defendant in this courthouse.“
The judge gave Mr. Bannon until Feb. 28 to find a new lawyer. He said that saying the case wouldn’t be delayed by looking for a new lawyer was “dishonest.” He asked Mr. Bannon if he understood, and Mr. Bannon said that he did. This was the only time Mr. Bannon spoke during the hearing.
Once a new lawyer was found, Justice Merchan told Mr. Schoen, “You never have to come back.” If you find this interesting, please forward it to your friends. Visit Lighthousejournal.org for the most up-to-date and recent celebrity news.