Judge went on TV to shock the nation with Trump judgement

Donald Trump’s life is in the hands of judges. One just made a big announcement.

Because a judge went on TV to shock the nation with an unexpected Trump judgement.

In a recent development that has the potential to significantly impact the legal proceedings against former President Donald Trump, retired judge George Grasso expressed on Monday that U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon might disrupt special counsel Jack Smith’s cases. This could have far-reaching consequences, particularly regarding Smith’s investigations into Trump.

Judge Cannon, who was appointed by Trump, recently presided over a hearing to determine whether the entire case concerning classified documents should be dismissed. This challenge is based on claims questioning the constitutionality of Smith’s appointment.

During an appearance on CNN News Central, Grasso highlighted that Cannon’s engagement with this issue suggests she may be considering dismissing the case altogether. Such a decision could delay Smith’s election interference case against Trump, especially if the Supreme Court decides to review the legitimacy of Smith’s appointment.

Grasso pointed out the unusual nature of the hearing. He remarked that there was no objective reason for Cannon to host such an extensive hearing, allowing amici curiae — individuals or groups not directly involved in the case — to present their views. This inclusion has led some legal experts to criticize Cannon’s competence. However, Grasso offered a different perspective, urging observers to consider the possibility that Cannon is seriously contemplating dismissing the case on procedural grounds.

He acknowledged that if Cannon were to dismiss the case, the 11th Circuit Court would likely intervene quickly and decisively to overturn her decision. This situation underscores the contentious atmosphere surrounding the case and Cannon’s role in it.

Further complicating the matter, senior judges have suggested that Cannon should recuse herself due to her limited experience and previous rulings favoring Trump, as reported by The New York Times. Despite these suggestions, CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig noted that her recusal would be highly unusual, making it unlikely.

Grasso also speculated that Trump’s legal team would likely escalate the matter to the Supreme Court at the earliest opportunity. He noted that justices such as Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito might entertain these theories, potentially advancing the case to the highest court. This scenario is particularly concerning for Smith’s efforts to prosecute the January 6 case, as it could introduce further complications and delays.

Trump’s attorneys argue that Smith, a private citizen at the time of his appointment by Attorney General Merrick Garland in November 2022, lacked the authority to bring charges. Cannon’s indefinite delay of Trump’s trial, where he faces 40 felony counts, adds another layer of complexity. Smith secured an indictment against Trump in June 2023 related to his handling of classified documents.

Grasso concluded by emphasizing the seriousness of the situation, warning that any Supreme Court involvement could lead to prolonged uncertainty and chaos, affecting not only the classified documents case but also the broader legal efforts against Trump.

The Trial on Trial

Early indications suggest that Cannon is approaching the challenge with seriousness. During Friday’s hearing, she allotted time for three external lawyers to present arguments as “friends of the court.” Two of these lawyers support Trump, while the third backs the special counsel. Allowing outside lawyers to intervene on a strictly legal matter is a rare occurrence at the district court level.

The hearing comes at a time when Cannon is under intense scrutiny. On Thursday, The New York Times revealed that when Cannon was initially assigned to this case last year, two other judges advised her to recuse herself, but she declined.

The Florida case, which was originally set for trial on May 20, now lacks a scheduled trial date. For months, Cannon has been methodically considering Trump’s numerous attempts to dismiss the case. She is also deliberating on how to manage the substantial amount of classified evidence that prosecutors might present and other sensitive materials the defense might use in response.

Friday’s hearing centers on Trump’s assertion that Attorney General Merrick Garland lacked the authority to appoint Smith. Trump argues that federal law does not permit the creation of special counsels and that Garland is improperly using Justice Department funds to cover Smith’s expenses.

Special counsels, sometimes called special prosecutors, are usually appointed in politically sensitive cases where the Justice Department may have a conflict of interest.

Trump claims that Smith’s level of independence from Justice Department leadership makes him a “superior officer” under the Constitution’s Appointments Clause. Such officers must be nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, a process not followed for Smith or other special counsels.

Additionally, Trump argues that the Justice Department is using a funding source intended only for independent counsels appointed under a statute that expired in 1999, which should not apply to special counsels appointed under subsequent DOJ regulations.

Stay tuned to the DC Daily Journal.

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