On Friday, May 31, 2024, CNBC reported that Judge Aileen Cannon, who is presiding over the criminal classified documents case against former President Donald Trump, had been the target of over 1,000 complaints in just one week in May. According to Chief Judge William Pryor of the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, many of these complaints called for Cannon to be removed from the case and for it to be reassigned to a different judge.

In an order published on May 22, Pryor revealed that complaints against Cannon have been filed with the 11th Circuit since May 16. He described these complaints as appearing to be “part of an orchestrated campaign.” Pryor dismissed four complaints as being merits-related or lacking sufficient evidence of any misconduct. Pryor said neither he nor the appeals court’s Judicial Council have the authority to remove Cannon from overseeing the Trump case under the rules governing judicial conduct.

While some of the complaints allege an improper motive of delaying the case against Trump, Pryor said these allegations are speculative and unsupported. He also noted that the complaints do not establish valid grounds for Cannon’s recusal simply due to her being appointed by Trump as president. Separately, Pryor wrote that prior to May 16, several other judicial misconduct complaints had already been filed against and acted upon regarding Cannon’s handling of the Trump case.

Trump is facing criminal charges for retaining classified documents from his time as president at his Mar-a-Lago club after leaving office. He is also accused of obstructing efforts to recover these records. Trump appointed Cannon to the federal bench. However, critics argue she has slow-walked the case against him through delays in ruling on legal motions and refraining from setting a trial date. Cannon has also faced pushback over granting hearings on issues some say could be addressed through typical court filings.

Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner, who hosts a podcast called Justice Matters, did an episode on May 24th titled “Judge Aileen Cannon Grinds Trump’s Classified Documents/Obstruction/Espionage Case to a Halt.” In it, he argued Cannon should be removed from the case due to a lack of impartiality. Kirschner linked to a YouTube video instructing people on how to file judicial complaints against her with the 11th Circuit.

In December 2022, Pryor was part of a three-judge 11th Circuit panel that overturned Cannon’s appointment of an independent arbiter to review documents seized in the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago search. The panel ruled the lower court “improperly exercised equitable jurisdiction” in getting involved after the search warrant execution. They asserted no rule could allow Trump or any other subject of a search warrant to obstruct a criminal investigation.

While the judicial complaint process is not meant for direct review of a judge’s orders, Pryor noted Cannon’s rulings remain open to normal appellate review.



Source: CNBC