So, you’ve heard the one where the emperor has no clothes, but what about the one where the lawyer has no computer?
How in the year of our Lord two thousand and twenty freaking four, can an attorney expect to provide counsel to their clients without access to a computer? Hell, it isn’t even a resources issue anymore — you can get a computer for a few hundred dollars these days. It’s really just a question of basic technological competence.
This issue comes up as the latest tidbit from the legal woes of Donald Trump. It happened in the federal documents case before Judge Aileen Cannon, where the former president and two co-defendants are accused of mishandling classified documents. The defense is alleging the prosecution is engaged in discovery shenanigans by failing to provide materials that would reveal political bias in the prosecution.
Special prosecutor Jack Smith disagrees vehemently with those accusations. The prosecution’s latest filing hits back saying the materials the defense seeks are “non-discoverable materials based on speculative, unsupported, and false theories of political bias and animus.” Indeed, the government has gone above and beyond to make sure the defense has access to discovery materials.
According to the filing, the attorney for one of the defendants, Carlos De Oliveira, doesn’t have a computer — neither desktop nor laptop — to review discovery materials on. The attorney was attempting to review the CCTV footage provided by the prosecution on a handheld tablet. What in the actual what? Who thinks they can seriously conduct discovery on an iPad? Maybe you can look at a document here or there on a tablet, but you need to have a computer to do the heavy lifting of review.
But that was not something De Oliveira’s attorney was prepared to do. So the government LOANED HIM A LAPTOP, and they “hand-delivered a computer to him.” And they acted as his personal tech support “providing tips and examples, and offering to set up calls,” when issues arose.
This is all just wild.
Kathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter @Kathryn1 or Mastodon @Kathryn1@mastodon.social.