On Thursday, May 9, 2024, The Hill reported that Senate Democrats strongly criticized a federal judge’s decision to indefinitely postpone the upcoming trial of former President Donald Trump on charges of mishandling classified documents.

Judge Aileen Cannon of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida canceled Trump’s May 20 trial date, asserting that several pretrial issues remained unresolved. Cannon, a Trump appointee, said it was necessary to delay the start of the trial to address unspecified legal questions.

The judge’s ruling sparked outrage from Democratic senators. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s oversight subcommittee, said it appeared Cannon was “deliberately slow-walking the case” in a way that could prevent the charges from reaching a verdict before the 2024 presidential election. Other Democrats voiced similar concerns that Trump might terminate the investigation and prosecution against him if re-elected.

Senator Chris Coons argued the indefinite delay was “profoundly frustrating” and risked denying justice. Senator Mazie Hirono criticized Cannon for failing to resolve legal issues in her court for months and said the judge did not seem objective, appeared to have an ideological agenda, and lacked trial experience. Democrats assessed there was little chance of removing Cannon from the case unless she chose to recuse herself.

Trump faces 40 felony charges relating to retaining classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago residence after leaving office, obstructing the investigation into the matter, and making false statements. Federal prosecutors had objected to a number of Cannon’s previous rulings in the case as unusually favorable to Trump’s defense. Special Counsel Jack Smith argued one of Cannon’s jury instructions risked jeopardizing the prosecution.

Cannon, nominated by Trump to the federal bench in 2020, has faced allegations of political bias from her judicial actions. She ordered an independent review of over 11,000 seized documents over the objections of prosecutors. Cannon worked as a corporate lawyer and had limited trial experience before becoming a federal prosecutor and judge. Democrats expressed doubts about her impartiality and ability to efficiently manage the high-profile case.



Source: The Hill