Federal District Judge Aileen Cannon Thursday evening rejected a national security-related motion, refusing the U.S. Dept. of Justice’s repeated requests to allow it access to the 100 or so classified documents it seized from Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago on August 8.
Judge Cannon also announced Thursday the appointment of a “special master,” an independent third-party, that was requested by Donald Trump. It is unusual for a special master to be appointed in such cases and, legal experts say, before charges are filed. Cannon appointed Raymond J. Dearie, Senior United States District Judge for the Eastern District of New York, who the Trump camp requested and DOJ agreed to not object to, as the Associated Press reports.
Cannon, appointed by then-President Donald Trump and confirmed after the 2020 election, has been extensively criticized for what legal experts say are her flawed rulings inappropriately favoring Trump.
Her ruling Thursday again favored Trump, legal experts say, for no legal reason.
“She says she is not entering a stay because she isn’t yet persuaded the documents are classified and/or not privileged. She implicitly seems to think Trump could have a possessory interest in formerly classified govt records,” Attorney Luppe B. Luppen says.
Constitutional law expert and retired Harvard Law law professor Laurence Tribe is accusing Judge Cannon of giving Trump “special treatment.”
Posting a link to her decision he writes: “Here’s Judge Cannon’s bid for permanent ignominy. She ends her denial of a stay by saying (in effect) former presidents are entitled to special treatment.”
Joyce Vance, the popular MSNBC legal analyst, law professor, and former U.S. Attorney says Judge Cannon’s decision is a “Terrible ruling.”
She says DOJ will appeal the ruling.
“Judge Cannon appoints a special master & refuses to lift the injunction prohibiting DOJ from using classified documents to further the criminal investigation, also impeding intelligence community review of the damage Trump has done. Next, 11th Circuit for appeal. Terrible ruling.”
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Trump Asks Supreme Court to Intervene for Him in Classified Documents Case
Donald Trump on Tuesday petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in his classified documents case, and reverse a ruling from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed the U.S. Dept. of Justice access to the more than 100 classified and top secret documents federal agents recovered from his Mar-a-Lago residence and resort.
Trump is asking the nation’s highest court to order a special master to continue to inspect the 103 classified documents, despite the special master emphatically stating the government, not Trump, gets to decide what is classified and what is not, especially when Trump refused to provide a list of what he considered declassified.
The lawsuit, which is a massive 240 pages, mostly made up of other documents including the now infamous FBI photo of the classified documents on the Mar-a-Lago rug, is addressed to “The Honorable Clarence Thomas, Circuit Justice for the Eleventh Circuit,” and refers to the former president as “President Trump.”
The lawsuit also mentions the contents that federal agents took, including “89 empty envelopes,” while not noting they were classified document envelopes.
“As part of the 11th Circuit’s decision, the panel allowed the criminal investigation to use the seized documents, something [Judge] Cannon had previously barred,” The Washington Post notes. “Trump’s filing seeks only to reverse the appeals court’s ruling on the special master’s access to the documents, not the part of the decision concerning the investigation.”
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.
‘No Shame’: Trump Judge Overrules Special Master – Stuns Legal Experts
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon on Thursday overruled the special master Donald Trump’s legal team chose and she installed, deciding to change the deadlines he set, delaying the case and DOJ’s work for months, and overruling his decisions.
Specifically, Judge Cannon ruled Trump and his attorneys do not have to make any statements to support the former president’s baseless claims that the FBI “planted” documents or other evidence.
“Judge Cannon overrules the order by her special master that would have forced Trump’s lawyers to lodge objections to the accuracy of the DOJ’s inventory, effectively forcing him to prove his ‘planting claims,'” Law & Crime managing editor Adam Klasfeld reports. “Trump doesn’t need to do that any more, she rules.”
“Upon review of the matter,” Cannon writes in her order Thursday, “the Court determines as follows. There shall be no separate requirement on Plaintiff [Trump] at this stage, prior to the review of any of the Seized Materials, to lodge ex ante final objections to the accuracy of Defendant’s Inventory, its descriptions, or its contents. The Court’s Appointment Order did not contemplate that obligation.”
Legal experts are stunned by Cannon’s latest move.
The Nation’s justice correspondent Elie Mystal writes: “Trump Judge Cannon trying to preserve the white wing talking point without forcing Trump to prove it. She’s in too deep now. She has to ride Trump all the way and hope he wins and promotes her.”
Civil liberties and national security journalist Marcy Wheeler says, “Judge Cannon unilaterally rewrites HER OWN deadlines to make sure that her Trumpy doesn’t have to commit until after the election. Holy hell this woman has no shame.”
Over at her site, Wheeler expands her thoughts.
“Aileen Cannon, without explaining why she was intervening, just rewrote Judge Raymond Dearie’s work plans regarding the Special Master review,” Wheeler says, calling it “an obvious power grab to ensure her own intervention doesn’t backfire on Trump.”
“With no justification (particularly given the way Dearie has ceded to multiple issues Trump has raised), and after having been scolded by the 11th Circuit for her improper claims of jurisdiction, she effectively just eliminated any claim that the Special Master Trump picked and she appointed is a neutral observer.”
“Cannon is shamelessly acting as Trump’s defense attorney. If you are a reporter, that’s what your story is. If you’re not a reporter, that’s also what your story is,” she warns. “At the very least fact check this woman.”
Slate senior writer Mark Joseph Stern, who has authored a book on the Supreme Court, says, “Cannon was shameless enough to overrule the special master, because she is not a real judge.
Former General Counsel of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and well-known MSNBC legal analyst Andrew Weissmann calls Cannon “a disgrace.”
“Oy- Judge Cannon tinkers badly with (and with typos) Judge Dearie’s scheduling order, relieving Trump of obligation to say whether docs were planted, even though she had wanted a clear inventory of what was found. She is such a disgrace.”
Highly-Anticipated J6 Committee Hearing Likely Postponed
Wednesday’s highly-anticipated hearing of the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, the first one since July, and possibly the final publicly-televised event, will likely be postponed due to Hurricane Ian which is ravaging Florida.
The Washington Post’s Jacqueline Alemany and Josh Dawsey were the first to report the postponement. MSNBC has confirmed the likely postponement.
No new date has been scheduled yet.
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.
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