Judge Aileen Cannon’s fitness to preside over the high-profile classified documents case involving former President Donald Trump has become increasingly worrisome for legal experts.
On Monday, the Trump appointee, and unabashed fan of the ex-president rejected special counsel Jack Smith’s attempt to preserve “grand jury secrecy” through sealed filings, raising more questions about her handling of the case.
In her ruling, Cannon questioned the “legal propriety” of Smith’s use of an “out-of-district grand jury to continue to investigate and/or seek post-indictment hearings.”
She demanded that Smith explain this by Aug. 22.
The complexity of the Mar-a-Lago documents case, with portions of the grand jury work conducted in Cannon’s district and Washington, D.C., appeared to perplex the judge, some legal analysts opined.
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance expressed concern online, suggesting that Cannon’s latest order might call into question her fitness to preside over the case.
Andrew Weissmann, a former assistant U.S. attorney, echoed the sentiment, stating that Cannon’s order seemed “off base.”
Weissmann further criticized Cannon’s understanding of the case, arguing that the obstruction charges under investigation could have been brought in either Florida or D.C., thus warranting investigation in either district.
He also highlighted that certain alleged conduct occurred outside Florida.
“I’m betting that Judge Cannon’s account of the out-of-district investigation is not the full story,” former senior Department of Justice official Harry Litman said in a Raw Story report.
“But hard to see how she can justify not sealing her order referring to another Grand Jury. Could this be a possible vehicle for taking her up and seeking her recusal? Not clear yet.”
Further, MSNBC host and former prosecutor Katie Phang also remarked that Cannon’s moves could result in her recusal.