On Thursday, February 8, 2024, Salon reported that legal experts were voicing concerns about a recent order from Aileen Cannon, Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, related to the ongoing investigation into Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents.

Judge Cannon, who was appointed by Trump, is overseeing the case against the former president. Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is leading the investigation, had opposed making information public that could reveal the identity or personal details of any potential witnesses. However, Judge Cannon ruled in favor of Trump and said the special counsel had not provided enough evidence to warrant keeping this information sealed.

Some experts found this troubling, noting that judges typically give weight to the government’s security concerns in cases involving classified information. Berkeley law professor Jeremy Foley said Judge Cannon was required to consider factors like national security and protecting witnesses, but her order suggested she did not properly take these issues into account. If the government has security worries about the order, it could seek an emergency stay from appeals courts.

Other legal analysts raised red flags about what they see as a pattern in Judge Cannon’s rulings that appear tilted toward benefiting Trump. Former prosecutor Joyce Vance wrote that while one ruling alone might be dismissed as an outlier, the repeated nature of decisions prolonging the case and against the special counsel was troubling. Vance and Harvard professor Laurence Tribe both indicated they felt Judge Cannon should be removed from the case due to her conduct.

Looking ahead, experts will be watching upcoming hearings where Judge Cannon will rule on use of classified materials. Trump is also expected to seek further delays, though his arguments around immunity and records have been criticized as weak. Some suggested the special counsel may have to consider asking for Judge Cannon’s recusal or at least signaling concerns to appeals courts about perceived bias. However, replacing a judge at this stage would still impact the case’s scheduling. The order continues to draw scrutiny from the legal community.



Source: Salon