What seemed inevitable has come to fruition. Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich has had enough of the court filings being whipped up by alleged Russian troll farm Concord Management and Consulting LLC in its fight against Special Counsel Robert Mueller. In recent days, these filings have referenced anything from a “nude selfie” to Animal House.
Friedrich criticized Concord’s attorneys Eric Dubelier and Katherine Seikaly on Monday in Washington, D.C., calling court filings “unprofessional, inappropriate, and ineffective.” Friedrich specifically took issue with “clever quotes” and “recent filings, in particular your reply brief filed Friday.”
Dubelier disputed this characterization of his work, telling the judge, “That’s your opinion.”
“I will say it plain and simple: knock it off,” Friedrich said. Dubelier responded by accusing Friedrich of “bias.”
“There appears to be some bias,” he said, adding that the things he’s been saying in filings are accurate. “I’ve been telling the truth,” Dubelier said. He also said he had to speak with his client. Politico interpreted this as a rebuke severe enough that Dubelier might need to withdraw from the case.
Team Concord and Team Mueller remain locked in a dispute over discovery, which Dubelier said has been unlawfully kept from Concord and “fugitive co-defendant” Yevgeniy Prigozhin. Prigozhin is connected to Russian President Vladimir Putin. You may remember him as the man dubbed “Putin’s chef.”
To give you a sense of the kind of filings the judge is upset about, all you need to do is look back at the last couple of weeks. Last Friday, Concord complained that Mueller wants to whisper “secrets” to the Court by having ex parte (one party only) discussions. Then Concord quoted Animal House.
“The Special Counsel also states that if simply trusting him that everything is just peachy is not sufficient, he can tell more ex parte secrets to the Court to support his position,” Concord said. “The Special Counsel’s argument is reminiscent of Otter’s famous line, ‘Flounder, you can’t spend your whole life worrying about your mistakes! You f**ked up . . . you trusted us. Hey, make the best of it.’”
The week before, Concord’s attorneys casually mentioned that Mueller had “collected a nude selfie,” and mocked the idea that having access to this evidence was a national security concern.
“Could the manner in which he collected a nude selfie really threaten the national security of the United States?” Dubelier asked. Mueller, for his part, completely ignored this detail in his next filing.
These were not the only instances of unusual references and statements.
Who could forget the invocation of Tweety Bird in an attempt to dismiss this case? Concord’s attorneys have otherwise asserted that Mueller has been carrying on a “first-of-its-kind” prosecution of a “make-believe” crime. [Image via Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images]