Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Experts blast Judge Cannon for "incompetence" and "perceived bias" as she hands Trump another gift by finding prosecutors' actions were not "polite enough"

U.S. Judge Aileen Cannon

Did you need another reason to conclude Donald Trump and U.S. Judge Aileen Cannon are dishonest, corrupt scumbags who deserve each other? We have one for you, thanks to our friends at The New Republic (TNR). Ellie Quinlan Houghtaling, reporter for TNR, describes the latest outrage in the months-long  lovefest between Trump and Cannon, the jurist with a thin resume who likely only made it to the federal bench because Trump himself nominated her. She has proven that she has neither  the experience nor the intellectual heft to handle perhaps the most important court case to come out of the United States in the past 50-plus years. Why does it matter so much? That's because it involves the possible sharing of classified information involving military, foreign policy, state department, and intelligence secrets. The subject matter of a legal case does not get much more serious than that. 

The  election interference/obstruction/conspiracy case related to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol almost certainly would rank second in importance of the four criminal cases facing Trump. But even that case, which involved a direct attack on American democracy, lacks the international implications and possible future repercussions of the classified-documents case in Florida. For example, it is known that Trump showed documents to individuals who did not have clearance to see them. What if he has, or does, share them with adversarial regimes led by authoritarians, such as those in Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran? That could lead to an international crisis that is hard to even comprehend at the moment.

TNR's Houghtaling provides details about the latest looniness, which tramples the rule of law at the courthouse where Cannon conducts her handiwork. This post at X describes the reaction of Laurence Tribe, constitutional scholar at Harvard Law School, to today's shenanigans:

BREAKING: A leading Constitutional scholar just predicted that U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon committed a MAJOR blunder that will cause her to be removed from Special Counsel Jack Smith's classified documents trial. Laurence Tribe, top constitutional scholar and University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University, is referring to Judge Cannon's "wildly lawless" refusal to place a gag order on Trump in the aftermath of his "assassination" accusations. Last week, Trump referred to standard FBI "deadly force" instructions in case of danger issued prior to the raid on Mar-a-Lago, and claimed that was proof President Biden was trying to assassinate him, despite the fact that the raid was coordinated with Trump's Secret Service and Trump wasn't even in the state.

Cannon made no attempt to address the substance of Smith's concern about the safety of law-enforcement agents, instead choosing to find fault with whether the prosecution adequately informed the defense of their concerns. “It’s the smoking gun that will finally lead to her removal from the stolen secrets case,” Tribe said.

Here is more from TNR's Houghtaling under the headline "Judge Cannon Blocks Trump Gag Order in Pettiest Way Possible;Trump can keep talking as much as he wants about the classified-documents case":

Judge Aileen Cannon rejected a gag order request in Donald Trump’s classified documents trial Tuesday on the basis that the filing wasn’t polite enough.

The gag order, filed by special counsel Jack Smith, was “wholly lacking in substance and professional courtesy,” according to the judge, who noted that the request did not allot enough follow-up time for Trump’s legal team to discuss the request.

“Because the filing of the Special Counsel’s Motion did not adhere to these basic requirements, it is due to be denied without prejudice. Any future, non-emergency motion brought in this case—whether on the topic of release conditions or anything else—shall not be filed absent meaningful, timely, and professional conferral,” Cannon wrote. (Notice that Cannon cites no statute or procedural rule that supports her conclusion.)

It’s just one of many subtle wins that Cannon has handed to the presumptive GOP presidential nominee in the trial. Earlier this month, she ordered a temporary stay on Trump’s legal requirement to give the government advance notice of which classified materials will be discussed—but never added an expiration date to it, effectively placing an indefinite hold on the proceedings.

Legal experts have warned that Cannon’s delayed actions and aversion to expedite the federal obstruction case could delay the trial until after November, and could also be the Trump-appointed judge’s way of surreptitiously dismissing the trial altogether.

Laurence Tribe is not the only prominent member of the legal community to question Cannon's deliberate handling of the Trump matter. Houghtaling writes:

On Thursday, former Trump White House attorney Ty Cobb accused Cannon of “incompetence,” insisting that there’s more than enough evidence—and time—to take the case to trial before Election Day.

“And frankly, this is a case that should’ve started trial yesterday or two days ago when the original trial date was set,” Cobb told CNN. “This case could have easily gotten to trial. Only her incompetence and perceived bias has prevented that.”

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