Legal win for Donald Trump as classified documents case delayed, legal experts question judge's ‘bizarre rulings’ - Hindustan Times
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Legal win for Donald Trump as classified documents case delayed, legal experts question judge's ‘bizarre rulings’

BySumanti Sen
May 08, 2024 08:06 AM IST

Donald Trump enjoyed yet another legal win after US District Judge Aileen Cannon on Tuesday, May 7, delayed his classified documents case indefinitely

Donald Trump enjoyed yet another legal win after US District Judge Aileen Cannon on Tuesday, May 7, delayed his classified documents case indefinitely. Trump had appointed Cannon, who previously decided that the case’s jury selection would begin on May 20.

Legal win for Donald Trump as classified documents case delayed indefinitely (Photo by WIN MCNAMEE / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)(Getty Images via AFP)
Legal win for Donald Trump as classified documents case delayed indefinitely (Photo by WIN MCNAMEE / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)(Getty Images via AFP)

On Tuesday, however, the judge went on to schedule over a dozen additional hearings and deadlines for lawyers through July. She said she could rule on "myriad and interconnected pre-trial and CIPA issues” before the trial started, referring to the Classified Information Procedures Act.

Legal experts and political strategists told Business Insider that Cannon’s move did not come as a surprise as on earlier occasions too, she has sided with the former president. "With Judge Canon reversing her own decision today, there is a high likelihood the case will get pushed out past the election," litigation and appeals attorney Katie Charleston said.

If this is the case, Trump might dodge the trial completely if he is elected president in November. He might as well get rid of the cases brought against him by the Justice Department.

The former president has been charged with as many as 37 counts, including 31 alleged violations of the Espionage Act for "willful retention of national defense information” in connection with his handling of classified documents that were taken to his Mar-a-Lago club. Trump has pleaded not guilty.

Aileen Cannon’s decisions questioned

Cannon had previously ruled that the classified document should be reviewed by a special master. However, the decision was reversed in an opinion by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. In the past, Cannon also refused to comply with the special counsel's request to hide the names of the case’s potential witnesses. However, last month, she agreed to redact witness names. She said that witness statements, however, will be disclosed in pretrial motions.

Cannon's critics have wondered whether her favouring Trump is due to bias, inexperience, or "analysis paralysis,” as noted by CNN's chief legal affairs correspondent Paula Reid. Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor, said, "Judge Cannon has ruled in Trump's favor at almost every possible turn, so I'm not surprised that she delayed the trial indefinitely. She is inexperienced and seems in over her head. She's made a number of bizarre rulings that aren't supported by logic or the law, and she has already been overturned by the 11th Circuit multiple times."

Rahmani said that the delay is indeed a win for Trump, "especially in the middle of another trial and the presidential campaign," making this ruling "yet another win for Trump in South Florida."

Ty Cobb, a former Trump White House attorney, said that the judge’s latest decision was "a combination of bias and incompetence,” according to CNN. "I think it was always her objective, frankly, to prevent this from going to trial," he said.

Doron Kalir, a professor at Cleveland State University College of Law, echoed the others’ thoughts, saying Trump’s egal strategy in his four criminal cases is "delay, delay, delay.”

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