Judge Cannon Humiliated Over Basic Law Lesson in Court

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The judge presiding over Donald Trump’s classified documents trial, Judge Aileen Cannon, seems to have a record of stumbling over her cases and failing to understand proceedings.

That’s the picture painted in a New York Times article published Wednesday.

The article pointed to an instance in the trial last week where a prosecutor in Trump’s case said that the Pinkerton rule, which states that all members of a conspiracy can be held accountable for any crimes committed by their co-conspirators, would apply to two of Trump’s co-defendants in the case, Mar-a-Lago employees Walt Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira.

This seemed to confuse Cannon, a former federal prosecutor and graduate of the University of Michigan’s law school. She asked the prosecutor, Jay Bratt, what authority the Pinkerton rule would be applied on, leading to Bratt having to explain the rule to her.

Tweet screenshot
Tweet screenshot

In other instances, the Trump-appointed judge seemed to require elaborate explanations regarding simple statements or requests from attorneys on both sides of the case.

For example, Nauta’s lawyer, Stanley Woodward Jr., made a request for all of the internal messages from the prosecution that mentioned his name so he could try to prove that the case against his client was vindictive. The judge asked him what he wanted, and then asked a second time, saying to give it to her “slowly.”

When he repeated his request to her, she still seemed confused, per the Times article.

“All right,” she said. “So I understand your request. It’s, quote, ‘All documents, communications concerning Mr. Woodward.’”

Following that, one of the prosecutors, David Harbach, nearly shouted at Cannon when she seemed to fail to grasp the point he was making: that Woodward’s claims were without merit and that he wasn’t legally allowed to see the government’s private messages. Cannon, in turn, asked Harbach if the government didn’t have the messages, causing him to get frustrated and repeat his explanation multiple times. Eventually, Cannon told Harbach he needed to “calm down.”

All of this is more fodder for Cannon’s critics, who not only include opponents of Trump, but even some former allies. One of Trump’s former lawyers, Ty Cobb, has accused Cannon of “incompetence” after she ruled to postpone the classified documents case indefinitely, fueling accusations that she is deliberately slowing down the case so that it won’t hurt Trump’s election prospects.

After special prosecutor Jack Smith asked for a gag order due to Trump’s repeated comments, Cannon on Tuesday denied the request because it was “wholly lacking in substance and professional courtesy.” This move could help Smith build a case to get her replaced, according to legal experts.

Trump faces 42 felony charges in the case related to illegally retaining national security documents and conspiracy to obstruct justice, to which he has pleaded not guilty.