To organize the material, the government has established a squad of prosecutors, the Capitol breach discovery team, which meets regularly with counterparts in the Washington Federal Defenders Office. In May, it also signed a contract with Deloitte Financial Advisory Services to create a database intended to allow defense lawyers to find evidence related to their clients and search for videos by location on the Capitol grounds.
But the process of setting up the database has not been smooth or quick. Judge McFadden ribbed the leader of the discovery team, Emily A. Miller, on Monday in court.
“I don’t envy you your job,” he added.
She responded, “No one does.”
While several judges have questioned prosecutors about speedy trial concerns and have promised consequences if delays persist, Judge McFadden, a Trump appointee, has been the most consistently — and vocally — critical of the government.
The hearing on Monday, for example, came in the case of Couy Griffin, the founder of a group called Cowboys for Trump, who is not in pretrial custody and was recently offered a deal to plead guilty to the charges he is facing. The fact that Judge McFadden raised concerns about the pacing of his case — which appears to be on a path toward resolution — suggested that he might have broad problems with how the government was conducting its prosecution overall.
Ms. Miller began the hearing by laying out the familiar litany of discovery materials the government had collected — videos, texts, photos, social media posts — and then suggested it was in the interest of Mr. Griffin and other defendants to allow prosecutors time to cull through the evidence for them. In a filing that morning, she and a colleague had made a similar argument, writing that whenever delays occurred, they were at least partly caused by prosecutors searching their files for potentially exculpatory evidence like “images of officers hugging or fist-bumping rioters.”
But Judge McFadden returned to the issue of new arrests, arguing that the government had created its own challenges by continuing to file them, increasing the pool of relevant discovery.