Loose Cannon Slow Walks the Documents Case

It’s the anniversary of that day again. Reflect and remember.

In Trump criminal justice news — remember the documents case? The one in Florida? In the past few weeks we’ve all been looking hard at the Georgia and  federal J6 indictments. What’s been happening in Florida?

The answer is, not a whole lot. David Kurtz writes at TPM that Judge Cannon is deliberately slow walking the case.

Welp, we’re coming up on a month since U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon issued any meaningful orders or rulings in the Mar-a-Lago documents case – and frankly that’s a generous application of the word “meaningful.”

Back on Aug. 17, Cannon did issue an order but it was more notable for kicking the can on the case than actually moving it forward. And since then, very little has happened in the Mar-a-Lago case. If you’re watching closely to see if Cannon is slow-rolling the case to the benefit of Trump, whose entire legal strategy at this point across multiple prosecutions is delay, then the past month is plenty cause for concern.

Here’s what Cannon still hasn’t done:

  1. Issued a protective order covering the handling of classified documents in the case.
  2. Held Garcia hearings on the potential conflicts of interest facing two of the defense counsel in the case.

But it’s actually even a little worse than that: Cannon hasn’t even scheduled hearings on these matters yet, even though they’ve been pending in one form or another for weeks.

There are more examples of dithering, so read the whole post. The last hearing Judge Cannon held in this case was on July 18, when she denied the government’s motion for a CIPA protective order. She gave Smith and crew a chance to re-up its motion, which they did later in July. Crickets since.

Will Jack Smith let this stand?

In other news: On Friday U.S. District Judge Steve Jones denied Mark Meadows’s bid to move his case from Georgia state court to federal court. Today Meadows appealed the decision to the to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

In that filing, Meadows’ lawyers argued that several aspects of the district court’s order departed from precedent, including failing to credit Meadows’ account of his conduct and duties and raising the burden on Meadows to justify the removal of his case from state court.

I take it this means Judge Jones failed to appreciate that overturning an election in Georgia is a normal duty for a White House chief of staff.

This afternoon, Judge Jones replied to Meadows’ emergency request by ordering Georgia prosecutors to file a brief in response by Tuesday at 12 p.m. ET. So there are more twists and turns ahead.

In more other news: A few days ago I wrote about the PEPFAR program that has been very effective in fighting AIDS in Africa. An unsupported rumor claims that PEPFAR has been funding or encouraging abortions, and now Republicans want to kill it. Some protesters stormed Kevin McCarthy’s office today demanding that PEPFAR be funded. They were arrested, which is what often happens when you get rowdy in government buildings.

But while I agree with their cause, this is an example of stupid protesting. Kevin McCarthy has little control over the House and isn’t going to be swayed by protesters. The protests need to focus on educating the public about how stupid it would be to let PEPFAR lapse. Protests don’t work by yelling at the powers that be. They work by swaying public opinion.

8 thoughts on “Loose Cannon Slow Walks the Documents Case

  1. Other than here, and a few other blogs I read, there have been crickets on PEPFAR in the media. Before one can educate the public, one has to get their attention. If this protest causes even one MSM outlet to devote a few minutes of air time, or a few inches of page space, then the activists can claim a bit of success. As a member of the ACT-UP generation, I’m probably a bit biased on this issue.

  2. I saw the video of the protest. All I can say is that McCarthy should hire an interior decorator to add a little more class to his office. Not that he should make the waiting room look like something out of Downton Abbey, but the decor he has now is abysmal. It looks like the office of an insurance agent.

  3. I of course have no inside knowledge of Jack Smith's strategy, but my suspicion that the documents case was a shiny object he floated out there while he perfected his Big Casino play, the case in D.C. before Judge Chutkan.

    My understanding is that the documents case could be brought in either D.C. or the Florida Southern District due to statutory authority in the relevant documents offense statutes. My guess is that by charging the documents case in Florida anticipated complaints that rump should be tried in that state due to his residence there. 

    The heavy lifting will be Smith's D.C. filing. I think he felt the odds of getting a sympathetic judge for that trial were much, much better there. And it's really the marquee event. Simply a ton of prosecution witnesses and a pro-prosecution jury pool.

  4. I read a commentator who thought Judge Cannon was/is no realizing the error of slow-walking the documents case because she's likely to be last and less famous than the other judges who will rule on Trump before she does.

    The presumption that Cannon wants the limelight seemed out of place. She's a true believer that Trump is above the law, as I see it. She'll have a hard time adjudicating a position so fundamentally in conflict with the law. So she's going slow and IMO, will give Trump a pass when he's convicted. And on the case related to national security documents, the outcome is not in question.

    But I learned recently with some of the sentencing of J6 insurrectionists that DOJ can appeal sentencing if the prosecutor feels it's too lenient. Going last on the documents case will hurt Trump in sentencing – he will be a multiple-offense felon and that factors heavily (and adversely) into federal sentencing guidelines. Cannon will set the guidelines aside, IMO, ruling far below the minimum threshold. And it won't last.

    • Cannon is not only a true believer, but is in way over her head. She has no business presiding over a trial like this, because she's so inexperienced. It's hard to imagine she desires any limelight at all, given the slap the 11th circuit (her boss) gave her over the special master nonsense. She's heading for another one.

  5. Nothing has changed much in Florida in the last forty years.  The fix is in.  

    There is a whole new ethic taking shape in South Florida these days, and despite the rich Latin overlay, it is not far from the taproot of the old American Dream.  It is free enterprise in the raw, a wide-open Spanish -speaking kind of Darwinism, like the Sicilians brought to New York a hundred years ago and like the Japanese brought to Hawaii after WW II, and not really much different from what the Israelis are bringing to Lebanon today.  The language is different, the music is faster, the food is not meat and potatoes, but the message is still the same.  Rich is strong, poor is weak, and the government works for whoever pays its salaries. 

    (1983), Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

    It is nice to hear the words -the law applies to everyone equally- but Florida, it appears, has exceptions.  Not just Trump but also the Justice System is on trial in the tidal wave of the wake of the ship of the Trump state.  Not only is the jury out on both, itis not even close to in yet.  

    The Hunter quote comes from a piece he did on the Pulitzer divorce trial.  His view was that the trial was for show and the outcome was determined way before the trial began.  If history holds, Judge Cannon and company need to decide what outcome they want before the trial begins.  This should take quite some time.  The Gitmo crowd will possibly see a trial before Trump does.  

  6. If I were of a conspiratorial bent, I might wonder if all this splashing tomato juice on artwork, gluing hands to airport tarmacs and disruption of tennis matches is an effort to discredit climate protest so much as to leave it ~ as I believe it is ~ ineffective

    Of course, if I were of a conspiratorial bent I would probably see it that way about just about all conspiracies ~ most of them are so unbelievable as to leave all unbelievable

    There is a reason why they are secret societies

    Throw a wrench it it …

    • Trivialize … is the word I was looking for

      Not unlike what the Repubs are doing to 'impeachment' …

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