She purportedly needs a shovel to help her out of the legal sandbox she has created.
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, presiding over the Trump's federal classified documents obstruction case, is in a quandary that former Deputy Attorney General Harry Litman believes is by her own design.
"She is in a box of her own making because she accepted Trump's submission and said that in order to keep this information to be sealed, which Smith says will really endanger witnesses, you have to have the highest legal showing."
was hit with 40 felony charges in the classified documents case, including 32 counts of willful retention of national defense information and violations of the Espionage Act.
Litman believes recently Special Counsel Jack Smith's team is doing everything short of sounding atomic bomb sirens in Miami to compel Cannon to safeguard witnesses and members of service.
"That discovery material, if publicly docketed in unredacted form as the Court has ordered, would disclose the identities of numerous potential witnesses, along with the substance of the statements they made to the FBI or the grand jury, exposing them to significant and immediate risks of threats, intimidation, and harassment,” Smith's 22-page filing reads.
There's already been threats that Smith says “happened to witnesses, law enforcement agents, judicial officers, and Department of Justice employees whose identities have been disclosed in cases in which defendant Trump is involved.”
Cannon claimed that the prosecution didn't provide enough legal basis for the documents to stay sealed or redacted, though she did permit national security information culled from the documents themselves to remain out of the public eye.
But Litman says the bar is very low for Smith's request.
And he noted that the 11th Circuit (which stands above her court) "has said so."
"Remember, we have this ongoing drama with her," said Litman. "She's been slow-walking the case and she had these early sort of debacles that the 11th Circuit reversed."
The 11th Circuit notably overruled Cannon's request to appoint a special master to sift through classified documents inventoried by the FBI from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-lago residence back on Aug. 8, 2022.
Litman believes if Cannon messes up again, it could lead to her recusal.
"We've been wondering will she make another clear misstep that would give Smith the wherewithal to say maybe it's time to recuse her," he said.
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