Ex-Judge Says Trump Classified Docs Jurist Could Throw Wrench In Jack Smith’s Cases


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Jason Cohen Contributor
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Retired judge George Grasso said on Monday that U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon could upend special counsel Jack Smith’s cases against former President Donald Trump.

Cannon, who was appointed by Trump, on Friday heard arguments to determine whether the entire classified documents case should be dismissed based on the alleged unconstitutionality of Smith’s appointment. Grasso on “CNN News Central” said Cannon’s consideration of this claim could indicate she is thinking about tossing the case, adding that could lead to Smith’s election interference case against Trump experiencing delays if the Supreme Court takes up the issue of his appointment. (RELATED: ‘Misled The Judge’: Gregg Jarrett Says Jack Smith Got Caught ‘Manipulating Evidence’ Against Trump)

“I think in this particular case with this hearing, there’s no reason objectively, that Judge Cannon needs to be doing this huge hearing and letting amicuses, people filed amicus briefs, friends of the court, who weren’t actually even parties to the case come in and do a hearing. Now a lot of people are attributing, a lot of legal scholars who I respect well, ‘she doesn’t really know what she’s doing. This just shows how incompetent she is,” Grasso said.

“Listen to what she’s saying, listen to the question, the probing questions that she’s asked. She may be very well getting ready on the basis of this hearing to strike down the current statutory scheme and recommend that the case be dismissed on those serious procedural grounds,” he continued. “Now, I believe as mostly everyone else does, if she did that, the 11th circuit would come down very hard and probably rather quickly overruling her.”

More senior judges requested Cannon step down from the case soon after she obtained it because of lacking experience and previously ruling in favor of Trump, The New York Times reported on Thursday. CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig said her recusal on this basis would be “completely unprecedented” and that the odds of her leaving the case are slim.

“The Trump team is going to go right to the Supreme Court at their first opportunity. And I don’t know that justices like Thomas and Alito, just to name two obvious suspects off the top of my head, might not embrace these theories, at least to the point that this case would go to the U.S. Supreme Court,” Grasso said. “Furthermore, it’s particularly ominous because that kind of a ruling and that kind of a procedure in … the documents case … would undermine Jack Smith’s ability to prosecute the January 6 case.”

“Because you know that the Trump attorneys would jump right on that. At a minimum, if the Supreme Court took the case, it would just create more chaos that would go on indefinitely as we sit here today, still not getting a ruling from the Supreme Court on the immunity case,” he added. “So I say take this quite seriously.”

Trump’s lawyers assert Smith, a private citizen neither nominated by the president nor confirmed by the Senate at the time of his November 2022 appointment by Attorney General Merrick Garland, does not have the authority to bring charges.

Cannon in May indefinitely delayed Trump’s trial where he faces 40 felony counts. Smith secured an indictment of him in June 2023 on charges related to his management of classified documents.

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