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Harvard Law Expert Concerned About Judge Cannon's 'Pro-Trump' History - All The News You Must Read In One Place!
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Harvard Law Expert Concerned About Judge Cannon’s ‘Pro-Trump’ History

Harvard Law Expert Concerned About Judge Cannon’s ‘Pro-Trump’ History

An esteemed legal scholar expressed fears over reports that a controversial “pro-Trump” federal judge could be presiding over former President Donald Trump‘s criminal trial that’s scheduled to start on Tuesday.

Rumors started circulating on Friday that U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who was appointed by Trump in 2020, would be overseeing the trial. While the former president’s first court appearance is scheduled for 3 p.m. local time on Tuesday in Miami, it is unclear if Cannon is overseeing the case in its entirety or just a portion. Reports of her involvement sparked immediate backlash and added to the growing wave of scrutiny surrounding the case.

The former president announced on Thursday in a tirade of social media posts that he was informed he would be indicted, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday released the 49-page document. Trump faces 37 federal charges related to an investigation into allegedly removing classified information from the White House after leaving office. Trump maintains his innocence on the charges – which range from range from willful retention of national defense information to corruptly concealing a document or record – while referring to the DOJ and FBI as “corrupt.” The former president, who is campaigning for a second term, said on Friday in a post to his Truth Social platform that the indictment is “election interference.”

Newsweek reached out to Trump representatives for comment.

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Left: Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to deliver remarks during the Georgia state GOP convention at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center on June 10 in Columbus, Georgia. On Friday, former President Trump was indicted by a federal grand jury on 37 felony counts in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s classified documents probe. Right: U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon. Cannon, who is reported to be overseeing Trump’s federal criminal trial that starts on Tuesday, has sparked criticism for being too “pro-Trump.”
Anna Moneymaker, U.S. District Court/Getty, U.S. District Court

Newsweek also reached out via email to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida to confirm Cannon’s involvement in the case and to seek comment from Cannon.

Chief Clerk of Court Angela E. Noble confirmed to The New York Times on Saturday that Cannon was randomly assigned to oversee Trump’s case unless she recuses herself – something a legal expert told Newsweek would be best for the nation.

Critics have accused Cannon of ruling in favor of Trump in the past, igniting mounting calls for her impeachment. Cannon’s opponents argue that she had previously “blocked” the documents probe by limiting investigators’ access to view evidence. The controversy surrounding judge stems from her decisions while presiding over Trump’s 2022 counter lawsuit against the federal government where he attempted to have access to evidence restricted amid the probe into his alleged mishandling of classified documents.

Cannon came under fire after appointing Trump’s choice of a “special master” to oversee admissible evidence. Ultimately, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed her order and found she had wrongly exercised jurisdiction. Trump’s lawsuit was subsequently dismissed.

Laurence Tribe, a longtime Harvard Law professor who previously condemned Cannon’s decision to appoint a special master, offered a stern warning to judge ahead of Trump’s trial during an MSNBC appearance.

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During the Saturday morning segment, Tribe told host Ali Velshi that if Cannon does oversee the case that she must “call it straight” when making rulings. Tribe, who shared a clip of his appearance on Twitter, urged the public to read the 49-page indictment.

Tribe, a Carl M. Loeb University professor and constitutional law scholar, told Newsweek in an interview on Saturday that his top concern about Cannon presiding over the former president’s case is her history of “pro-Trump interventions.”

Tribe pointed to her prior involvement with the national defense materials “that are at the core” of the indictment, saying she “interfered” with the documents investigation that led to the charges. Tribe told Newsweek that her actions “caused a long delay that was so clearly unjustified that her pro-Trump interventions were reversed twice by the very conservative Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.”

He said the unanimous ruling by the panel, which included two Trump appointees, meant that Cannon’s “whole approach” to the search and seizure at the core of this case violated ‘bedrock separation of powers limitations” and was without legal basis.

“For her to re-emerge as the judge presiding over this historic trial would cast a long shadow over a proceeding that should be, and should be seen to be, entirely unbiased and legally sound,” Tribe said.

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Tribe, who has taught law at Harvard since 1968, called on Cannon to recuse herself “even if she is personally convinced that she could preside impartially and without any bias or appearance of bias.” In fact, he added, for her not to do so, given the history of this case would violate a federal law regarding a judge’s impartiality.

“Judge Cannon’s rulings in favor of Donald Trump’s motion to suspend the criminal investigation…including her appointment of a special master to undertake a review that had no basis in law, certainly fits that test by establishing a strong basis for questioning her impartiality, entirely apart from the aggravating factor that she was appointed to her lifetime position on the federal bench by defendant Donald Trump,” Tribe said.

Tribe said he was unsure of how Cannon was selected but added that even if “no thumb was put on the scale,” it will be difficult to convince Americans that the appointment was the result of “unadulterated coincidence.”

“That fact in itself undermines the confidence that the public should have in the process leading either to Trump’s conviction or to his acquittal or, worst of all, to a trial so long delayed that no result is reached before the next presidential election,” he said to Newsweek.

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Published: 2023-06-11 04:03:34

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