The federal judge overseeing former President Donald Trump’s classified documents case has issued a bombshell ruling that has actually put special counsel Jack Smith on the defensive.
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Judge Aileen Cannon, who was designated as a Judge for the Southern District of Florida by President Donald Trump, delivered a setback to Smith in a Monday ruling through the invalidation of two sealed filings he previously submitted.
POLITICO’s senior legal correspondent, Kyle Cheney, drew attention to the blow in a post on Twitter in which he explained what Judge Cannon did and for what reason.
“Judge CANNON comes out swinging at special counsel this morning, striking two of prosecutors’ sealed filings and demanding an explanation of ‘the legal propriety of using an out-of-district grand jury proceeding to continue to investigate’ the docs case,” Cheney noted on Twitter.
He included a screengrab of Cannon’s ruling in which she also mentioned another defendant indicted by Smith, one of Trump’s personal valets.
“Waltine Nauta shall file a response to the Motion for a Garcia hearing [ECF No. 97] on or before August 17, 2023. Among other topics as raised in the Motion, the response shall address the legal propriety of using an out-of-district grand jury proceeding to continue to investigate and/or to seek post-indictment hearings on matters pertinent to the instant indicted matter in this district,” she wrote, demanding to know why Smith was using a Washington, D.C., grand jury in his case instead of empaneling one locally in Florida.
“The Special Counsel shall respond to that discussion in a Reply in Support of the Motion [ECF No. 971. due on or before August 22, 2023. The remaining Defendants may, but are not required to, file briefs of their own related to the grand jury issue referenced herein, but any such briefs are due by August 17, 2023, and may be submitted in combined or individual fashion,” she added, setting a timetable for the explanation.
She also wrote that Smith had not met the standard for keeping the two filings sealed from public view.
“The Special Counsel states in conclusory terms that the supplement should be sealed from public view ‘to comport with grand jury secrecy,’ but the motion for leave and the supplement plainly fail to satisfy the burden of establishing a sufficient legal or factual basis to warrant sealing the motion and supplement,” she noted.
Julie Kelly, a conservative writer, tweeted about Cannon’s ruling.
Addressing the part in which Cannon said “the response shall address the legal propriety of using an out-of-district grand jury proceeding to continue to investigate and/or to seek post-indictment hearings,” Kelly argued, “BREAKING: I told you Judge Cannon is legit. She is not going to tolerate Jack Smith’s bullsh*t.”
“This is gold–she asks defense to raise possible grand jury abuse by DOJ for conducting nearly all of the investigation in DC then switching to FLA at last minute for indictment,” Kelly noted.
BREAKING: I told you Judge Cannon is legit. She is not going to tolerate Jack Smith's bullsh*t.
This is gold–she asks defense to raise possible grand jury abuse by DOJ for conducting nearly all of the investigation in DC then switching to FLA at last minute for indictment. pic.twitter.com/uu58SJc7PO
— Julie Kelly 🇺🇸 (@julie_kelly2) August 7, 2023
She added: “Cannon also won’t tolerate DOJs nonstop requests for secrecy. She already denied a govt motion asking to keep names of 80+ witnesses under seal.”