On Friday, June 21, 2024, the Tampa Free Press reported that CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig said it is unlikely that Judge Aileen Cannon will step down from the classified documents case involving former president Donald Trump.

Honig’s comments came in response to a New York Times report that several more senior judges had suggested to Cannon that she remove herself from the case due to her lack of experience and past rulings in favor of Trump. However, Honig noted that it would be unprecedented for a federal judge to voluntarily step away from a case due to questions about their qualifications rather than a conflict of interest. According to Honig, who spoke on CNN, federal judges do not typically remove themselves from a case simply because they feel they are “not up to it.”

While Honig acknowledged that judges could be forcibly removed from a case on rare occasions, he explained that this would require a formal request from the prosecutor, in this case special counsel Jack Smith. However, Honig said prosecutors are usually wary of seeking a judge’s removal because it could be seen as “judge shopping” and risk antagonizing the judge if the removal is denied.

On Friday, Cannon was scheduled to hear arguments on whether the entire classified documents case against Trump should be dismissed due to issues surrounding Smith’s appointment as special counsel. Trump’s attorneys have argued that as a private citizen not nominated by the president or confirmed by the Senate at the time of his appointment in November 2022, Smith does not have the power to indict.

According to Honig, if Cannon were to rule in favor of dismissing charges based on this argument, it could provide Smith grounds to request her removal from the case and reversal of the decision.



Source: Tampa Free Press