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Effort To Remove Judge From Trump Classified Docs Case Blocked

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


A federal judge criticized an apparent attempt to remove the judge overseeing former President Trump’s case involving classified documents, arguing that the Florida judge seemed to be the target of an “organized campaign.”

Judge Aileen Cannon received over 1,000 complaints in a single week last month. Critics accused her of intentionally delaying the criminal case against Trump until after the election, as reported by CNBC.

However, 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Chief Judge William Pryor dismissed the effort, saying in a May 22 order that he “has considered and dismissed four of those orchestrated complaints as merits-related and as based on allegations lacking sufficient evidence to raise an inference that misconduct has occurred.”

The order came as Cannon faces criticism for her management of the case, as reported by CNBC, referencing a recent episode of the “Justice Matters” podcast by former left-leaning federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner, who accused the Florida judge of bringing the case to a standstill, Fox News reported.

“She has brought the case to a screeching halt by declining to resolve motions in a timely manner and by refusing to even set a trial date. Judge Cannon is NOT an honest broker of the law, and the federal law requires a judge to be removed when his/her ‘impartially might reasonably be questioned,’” Kirchner complained, going on to point out that Cannon was appointed by Trump.

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The same podcast included a link to a YouTube video with step-by-step instructions on filing a complaint against Cannon with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, Fox noted.

In his order, Pryor wrote that “many of the complaints” against Cannon “request that the Chief Circuit Judge remove her from the classified-documents case and reassign the case to a different judge” and “question the correctness of her rulings or her delays in issuing rulings in the case.”

The chief judge also pointed out that the judicial-complaint process “is not the appropriate way to seek review of Judge Cannon’s orders, her orders are nevertheless subject to appellate review in normal course.” Pryor also argued in the order that little evidence had been presented to warrant action to remove Cannon.

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“Although many of the complaints allege an improper motive in delaying the case, the allegations are speculative and unsupported by any evidence,” the judge wrote. “The Complaints also do not establish that Judge Cannon was required to recuse herself from the case because she was appointed by then-President Trump.”

Meanwhile, Special Counsel Jack Smith again filed a request last week with Cannon to impose a gag order on Trump after getting shot down just days earlier while earning a rebuke from the court.

Smith’s request aims to prevent Trump from commenting on the law enforcement officers who searched his Mar-a-Lago home, where they found classified documents. In Florida, Trump faces 40 counts related to his alleged mishandling of classified documents after leaving the White House and obstructing the Justice Department’s investigation, the Washington Examiner reports.

Smith insisted on making the request following a claim made by Trump last week about the FBI agents who searched his home in August 2022, stating they were “authorized to shoot me” and were “locked & loaded ready to take me out & put my family in danger.”

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Last week, Cannon rejected the motion because prosecutors had not properly conferred with the defense, and the judge criticized the prosecutors for their lack of professionalism, warning that future instances of such conduct would warrant sanctions, The Epoch Times reported.

This time, prosecutors conferred with defense counsel, and the parties agreed to disagree, both concluding that “no further conferral was necessary,” according to the outlet.

Trump’s legal team responded by saying the request was “a blatant violation of the First Amendment rights of President Trump and the American People, which would in effect allow President Trump’s political opponent to regulate his campaign communications to voters across the country.”

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