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Trump’s battle against Smith takes a new turn as Judge Cannon’s unconventional moves continue to shape the Florida case


Florida – Former President Donald Trump’s legal battles continue to evolve, particularly with U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon’s recent decisions, which have significantly impacted the classified documents case in Florida against him. Judge Cannon has agreed to Trump’s request for a hearing on the legality of Special Counsel Jack Smith’s appointment, a move that has introduced an unusual twist in the case. Cannon’s decision to allow parties not directly involved in the case to participate in this hearing adds to the unconventional nature of her rulings.

Trump’s battle against Smith takes a new turn as Judge Cannon’s unconventional moves continue to shape the Florida case

Judge Cannon’s Unusual Decisions

On Tuesday, Judge Cannon granted motions from Trump’s legal team to include conservative lawyers Josh Blackman from the Landmark Legal Foundation and Gene Schaerr from Citizens United in the expanded hearing on the legality of Smith’s appointment. These parties, along with legal scholar Matthew Seligman, who considers Trump’s motion “meritless,” will present their arguments starting June 21. None of these individuals are otherwise involved in the case, making this a peculiar strategy that most other judges would likely have dismissed.

Judge Cannon, appointed by Trump in 2020, has made several contentious decisions that appear to favor Trump. She has agreed to entertain Trump’s baseless claims that the FBI plotted to assassinate him, and last week, she blocked a gag order request from Jack Smith, calling it “wholly lacking in substance and professional courtesy.” Furthermore, she has effectively delayed Trump’s case indefinitely to resolve pretrial motions, a move that has drawn criticism from legal experts and even Trump’s former lawyer, Ty Cobb.

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June 10 will mark a full year since Judge Cannon was assigned Trump’s classified documents case. Despite this, there is no set trial date, and few definitive rulings have been made. Trump, who is facing 40 felony charges related to the willful retention of classified documents and obstruction of their retrieval, has pleaded not guilty to all counts. The charges stem from a search of his Mar-a-Lago resort, where top-secret documents were found in his office and a bathroom.

Audio recordings have shown Trump discussing classified documents about a potential attack on Iran, acknowledging he no longer had the authority to declassify them. Despite the gravity of these allegations, Judge Cannon has entertained almost every argument from Trump’s defense, without making any ruling that would allow the Department of Justice to appeal and potentially remove her from the case.

Trump’s battle against Smith takes a new turn as Judge Cannon’s unconventional moves continue to shape the Florida case

Cannon’s handling of the case has raised eyebrows among legal analysts. Her decision to allow outside attorneys to make oral arguments is unprecedented. MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin remarked, “Weird sleights of scheduling, delay, [and] even legally erroneous rulings don’t prove bias. But her management of her docket and micromanagement of these motions are baffling, at best, and highly problematic at worst.” CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin went further, arguing that Cannon’s conduct appears to be an attempt to delay the prosecution and favor Trump.

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Mary McCord, a former federal prosecutor, expressed disbelief at Cannon’s decision to give outside parties significant time to argue in court. “That is an extraordinary amount of argument time on a single issue,” McCord noted, emphasizing that such extensive oral arguments are rare even at the Supreme Court level, let alone a district court.

Former Miami-Dade County Court Judge Jeff Swartz suggested that Cannon might be intentionally delaying the case in hopes of pushing it past the November election, potentially allowing Trump to order the DOJ to drop the case if he wins. Swartz criticized Cannon’s management of the case, saying, “If she is that ignorant of how to handle these matters, then she doesn’t belong on the bench. If she’s doing it because she’s lazy, then she doesn’t belong on the bench. If she’s doing it just to delay, then she doesn’t belong on the bench.”

Cobb’s Perspective on Cannon’s Delays

Ty Cobb, who once served as an attorney in Trump’s White House, believes Cannon is deliberately stalling the trial. “Judge Cannon is kicking the can down the road as long as she can and delaying both the trial, which is clearly her purpose – and when I say purpose, it is purposeful now, it’s not mere ineptitude,” Cobb told CNN. He asserted that Cannon’s actions reflect a palpable bias favoring Trump.

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As Trump’s legal battles continue, Judge Cannon’s unconventional decisions are shaping the case in unprecedented ways. Her rulings and the inclusion of external parties in critical hearings highlight the complexities and challenges in the pursuit of justice in this high-stakes legal drama. Whether Cannon’s actions are driven by bias or incompetence, they undoubtedly add a layer of complexity to Trump’s ongoing battle against Special Counsel Jack Smith.

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