On Wednesday, May 8, 2024, Salon reported that experts were criticizing Judge Aileen Cannon’s handling of the classified documents case against former President Donald Trump. Legal experts argued that the judge’s delays and rulings in the case threatened its progression and suggested bias and incompetence on her part.

Judge Cannon, a Trump appointee overseeing the case filed by Special Counsel Jack Smith, has faced criticism for her management of pre-trial deadlines and motions in recent months. On Tuesday, she pushed back the deadline for the defense to outline what classified information it intended to present at trial. She also ruled to delay the start of a trial indefinitely, despite one originally being scheduled for this month.

The judge argued it would be “imprudent” to set a trial date before fully considering various pre-trial motions. However, experts said it was unusual for her to hold three days of hearings on a defense motion regarding the scope of Smith’s team. Her next scheduled conference is July 22nd, meaning a trial could not begin until then at the earliest.

Some lawyers said her behavior did not follow typical protocols. Brandon Von Grack, a former Justice Department attorney, noted the extended hearing on the scope motion was atypical. Roger Parloff, a senior editor at Lawfare, observed the judge seemed open to defense arguments labeling the prosecution misconduct and persecution, which could cause further delays.

Ty Cobb, a former White House attorney under Trump who now criticizes the ex-president, told CNN there was validity to concerns of both bias and incompetence influencing Cannon’s rulings. He predicted the case may not go to trial until 2025 or be stopped altogether. Cobb alleged it appeared her objective had always been to prevent a trial from occurring.

Neil Katyal, a former acting U.S. solicitor general, said the case itself is not very complex and should not have faced such delays. He lost hope the trial could be held prior to the November general election. “This is not a hard case. It’s pretty simple – a guy stole documents and lied about it. It’s not rocket science,” Katyal remarked.

The report of these legal experts’ criticisms indicates rising doubts about Judge Cannon’s impartiality and ability to competently manage the high-profile classified documents prosecution of Donald Trump. Her rulings postponing deadlines and hearings, as well as receptiveness to defense claims, suggest to some that she may be influenced by bias or lacking experience for such a high-stakes case.

 

 

Source: Salon