Judge overseeing Trump’s documents case seen as isolated and inexperienced

Judge overseeing Trump’s documents case seen as isolated and inexperienced

CNN reports:

[Judge Aileen] Cannon’s assignment to the documents case was a game of odds. Though the charges were filed in West Palm Beach, the division that is home to Mar-a-Lago, Cannon was randomly chosen from a broader pool of judges in Florida’s southern district.

Her approach as a jurist – detail-obsessed to the point of tedious – appears uniquely prone to being exploited by a defense team eager to delay the case. And the complicated system Cannon has set up for redacting public filings has only exacerbated a backlog of unresolved issues.

She still has not decided foundational questions that will determine whether the Trump case will go to trial. Marginal issues clutter her docket, including a longshot motion to invalidate Jack Smith’s appointment as special counsel that she’s scheduled a hearing on later this month.

Some attorneys who have practiced before Cannon chalked up her struggle handling the practical logistics of being a trial court judge to her background of mostly appellate work for the local US Attorney’s office.  They described her as latching onto abstract, academic questions at the expense of the type of on-the-fly decision-making required by trial judges that keeps litigation moving along.

As Cannon slowly plods through the backlog of issues on her plate, special counsel prosecutors are now learning firsthand the wrath that they can incur from the judge for seemingly minor discrepancies in their filings, and they have drawn Cannon’s ire for pushing her to move more quickly to resolve the substantive pretrial issues that have slowed the pace of the case to a crawl.

“You can’t really take issue with her, otherwise it’s going to work against you,” a fourth attorney who has practiced before Cannon said.

Trump’s attorneys have also attracted heat from Cannon, though far less often than the special counsel.

Defense attorneys CNN spoke to described Cannon as a judge who gives minimal deference to defendants and as a “notoriously” tough sentencer. To that end, the long leash she’s given the Trump team in the pretrial phase of the case has struck a chord with them.

“She’s certainly not sympathetic to most defendants, and she’s certainly playing a different game with the current defendant before her,” another lawyer told CNN, in reference to Trump. [Continue reading…]

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