Julie Kelly Commentary: Meltdown in Florida

“I’m going to ask that you just calm down. I understand this is sensitive and it’s difficult, but these questions are briefed and they’re before the Court.” So said Judge Aileen Cannon to David Harbach, one of Special Counsel Jack Smith’s lead prosecutors in the government’s espionage and obstruction case against former president Donald Trump, during a hearing on Wednesday. While temperatures spiked outside the federal courthouse in Fort Pierce, Florida throughout the day, so too did the climate inside Cannon’s courtroom.

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Commentary: Judge Cannon Puts Jack Smith on Trial

Jack Smith

U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon may have just indefinitely postponed Donald Trump’s espionage and obstruction trial but that doesn’t mean her federal courtroom in Fort Pierce, Florida will lie dormant over the next few months.

In officially vacating the existing May 20 trial date—an impossibility considering the defendant will be in a Manhattan courtroom for the foreseeable future—Cannon declined to set another date, calling it “imprudent” at this stage of the process. She noted a “myriad” of unresolved matters in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s 42-count indictment against the former president and his two co-defendants, Mar-a-Lago employees Waltine Nauta and Carlos De Olivera, for willfully retaining national defense information and attempting to impede the government’s investigation.

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Commentary: Unredactions Reveal Early White House Involvement in Trump Documents Case

Stern Su Trump

Top Biden administration officials worked with the National Archives to develop Special Counsel Jack Smith’s case against Donald Trump involving the former president’s alleged mishandling of classified material, according to recently unsealed court documents in the case pending in southern Florida.

More than 300 pages of newly unredacted exhibits, containing emails and other correspondence related to the early stages of the hunt for presidential papers, challenge public statements by Joe Biden about what he knew and when he knew it regarding the case against his political rival.

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Trump Calls for Sanctions, Censure of Special Counsel Jack Smith

Jack Smith and Donald Trump (composite image)

Former President Donald Trump called for special counsel Jack Smith to be sanctioned or censured for “attacking” the judge in Trump’s classified documents case. 

Trump’s comments on Thursday come after Smith and his team of prosecutors made it clear they think Judge Aileen Cannon’s latest ruling was based on “an unstated and fundamentally flawed legal premise.” Prosecutors objected to Cannon’s order to produce proposed jury instructions under two different legal scenarios. Smith said both legal scenarios were flawed.

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Jack Smith Makes Another Push to Keep Documents Under Seal

Jack Smith

Special Counsel Jack Smith asked Judge Aileen Cannon on Thursday to reconsider her decision to unseal certain documents prosecutors wanted to keep from the public docket.

Cannon, who is overseeing the classified documents case against former President Donald Trump in Florida, ruled Tuesday that certain discovery material Smith wanted to keep under seal because it could impact the safety of potential witnesses would be disclosed out of the “strong presumption of public access in criminal proceedings.” Smith urged Cannon to reconsider her decision, arguing that she “applied the wrong legal standard and issued orders that, in practice, will expose witnesses and others to intolerable and needless risks.”

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Trump Might Enter 2024 Election Unscathed as Court Dates Are Delayed, Legal Attacks Falter

Trump Courtroom

As former President Donald Trump’s legal difficulties continue to stack up, scheduling conflicts and trial delays offer relief and highlight an emerging path for him to enter the 2024 election without a conviction, should he be the Republican nominee.

Facing the strain of four separate criminal indictments while running a presidential campaign, Trump has sought to postpone trials in his cases until after the election. At least two judges — the one overseeing his Florida classified documents case and another overseeing his New York case for allegedly falsifying business records — have signaled a willingness to delay, while Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis believes the Georgia trial may not conclude until early 2025.

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Commentary: Chaos in the Classified Documents Case

At one point during a contentious hearing in her Florida courtroom on Wednesday afternoon, U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon confronted the Department of Justice about its concurrent federal indictments against Donald Trump.

Cannon pressed Jay Bratt, the chief prosecutor on Special Counsel Jack Smith’s classified documents case, to name another instance when the government brought charges against the same defendant on two different matters within a few months of each other. (Smith indicted the former president last June in the southern district of Florida for unlawfully keeping national defense information at Mar-a-Lago and obstruction of justice. Seven weeks later, Smith charged Trump in the District of Columbia with four counts related to the events of January 6.)

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Judge Signals She May Delay Trump Classified Documents Trial

The federal judge overseeing former President Donald Trump’s classified documents case signaled that she would consider postponing the coming May trial, according to Politico.

Trump’s lawyers requested in early October that the trial be delayed until “at least mid-November 2024,” after the 2024 election, citing scheduling conflicts with other trials along with delays in record production by Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team. U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon did not issue a ruling during a Wednesday hearing but was skeptical that the original schedule could still be met, according to Politico.

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Judge Orders Attorneys in Trump Documents Case to Get Security Clearance

A federal judge ordered all the attorneys involved in former President Donald Trump’s classified documents case to move forward with the process to get security clearance. 

U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon told all the attorneys to “complete all outstanding applicant tasks required to obtain the requisite security clearances in this matter” by July 13. 

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