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Legal Experts Slam Judge’s Decision in Trump Case: “Disturbing”, “Awful and Unethical”

Concerns arise in legal circles as a judge overseeing Donald Trump’s classified documents case denies special counsel Jack Smith’s request to keep government witnesses confidential.

The decision by Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon has ignited debates surrounding transparency and fairness within the legal system.

Smith’s Bid Rejected

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Special counsel Jack Smith’s attempt to shield potential witnesses’ identities was rebuffed by Judge Aileen Cannon, who emphasized the importance of public access to case-related records despite concerns about witness intimidation.

Questioning the Concerns

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Judge Cannon scrutinized Smith’s arguments, finding them lacking in factual basis to justify sealing the documents, prompting queries about the judge’s impartiality and decision-making process.

Public Interest Argument

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The Press Coalition underscores the public interest in accessing Trump’s redacted motion in unclassified form, highlighting the broader significance of the case and the public’s right to information.

Legal Expert’s Perspective

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Berkeley College law professor Jeremy Foley weighs in, expressing surprise at the judge’s decision to make classified documents public and underscoring the necessity of considering factors favoring disclosure against potential government concerns.

Emergency Relief Can Be Sought

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Foley notes that the government can seek emergency relief from the 11th Circuit if it believes Judge Cannon’s order poses harm, potentially staying the order pending review.

Concerns Over Judicial Neutrality

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Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance raises concerns about Judge Cannon’s rulings, suggesting a perceived bias in favor of Trump and emphasizing the importance of judicial impartiality.

Potential Strategies

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Smith faces uncertainties in addressing the situation, with options including seeking reconsideration from Judge Cannon, although doubts persist about the efficacy of this approach given the judge’s previous rulings.

Section 4 Hearing

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The upcoming Section 4 hearing under the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA) will be pivotal, testing Judge Cannon’s disposition and shaping the course of the proceedings as Trump seeks delays and revisits claims related to presidential immunity.

Tipping The Scales

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Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance wrote on Substack that “Judge Aileen Cannon continues to make rulings that are disturbing.

” She added, “Judges should not put their fingers on the scales of justice, either for or against a defendant or any other party. Here, it’s impossible to avoid the conclusion that the scales are being tipped.”

Hope for Removal

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Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe suggests that Tuesday’s order could prompt a motion to remove Judge Cannon from the case, expressing optimism that the 11th Circuit might intervene to safeguard national security interests.

Criticism of Judge Cannon

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Norman Ornstein, emeritus scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, criticized Judge Cannon’s conduct, describing it as “awful and unethical.” He added, “Clearly has no business being a judge at any level.”

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