Judges Advised Cannon to Step Aside in Trump Case, She Refused

 Judges Advised Cannon to Step Aside in Trump Case, She Refused


Legal experts expressed shock Thursday after a New York Times report revealed that Judge Aileen Cannon, who is presiding over Donald Trump’s classified documents case, was advised by other judges to pass the case to a more experienced jurist. Among those advising Cannon was the chief judge of her court. However, Cannon declined to step aside.

Charlie Savage, one of the reporters on the story, told CNN, “It’s extremely rare for judges to tell other judges that they ought to step aside. So, it’s not like there’s a roadmap here that makes anything about this normal.”

Savage continued, “It is quite normal for novice judges newly appointed to the bench, like Judge Cannon, to look to their colleagues who had many more years of experience for advice and mentorship about how to do the job. And that is a sort of informal culture in federal courts — probably state courts too — mentoring and helping young judges get their feet under them. And, so, this is certainly her rejecting that culture and going her own way.”

On X, MSNBC host and analyst Katie Phang called Cannon’s refusal “stunning hubris … resulting in repeated miscarriages of justice.” MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin echoed this sentiment, stating, “Given how federal district courts function, this is an especially stunning piece.”

Rubin further explained on air, “The very fact that the conversations even existed is itself remarkable,” referring to the discussions among the judges. Rubin cited Chief Judge Cecilia Altonaga, who, according to the Times, clearly stated her reasons for advising Cannon to step aside.

Paraphrasing Altonaga, Rubin said, “Given what happened after the initial search at Mar-a-Lago, and your own involvement and receptivity to a civil lawsuit from former President Trump challenging that search — that’s the case in which Judge Cannon appointed a special master slowing down the government’s investigation for several months. Only to be overturned, and very harshly, by the [conservative] 11th circuit.”

Despite this, Cannon refused to step back. Rubin noted, “It gives some comfort, I guess, for lack of a better word, to people who have said all along that Judge Cannon’s handling of this case has been somewhat awry and mysterious to know that two other judges also thought she might be out of her depth, if not biased in her handling of the case.”

Former state and federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner posted comments about Cannon mere hours before the story broke. “The federal law requires a judge to recuse from a case if ‘her impartiality might reasonably be questioned.'” (28 USC 455),” he wrote on X. He also quoted retired Judge Shira Scheindlin, who found the constant delays in the case to be the biggest issue. “The second thing that stands out to me is what appears to me to be her dislike of the government and her favoritism toward the defense.”

Former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann added, “Instead, Cannon will have to be removed from the case. And the bench. So far she’s proved she barely knows where the court building is.” Political scientist Norman Ornstein called Cannon “even more corrupt than we thought.”

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