OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Left-leaning attorneys and former federal prosecutors have ramped up their criticism of U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon following a series of rulings unfavorable to special counsel Jack Smith in former President Donald Trump’s classified documents case.
According to a report by left-wing Raw Story, “Cannon reprimanded federal prosecutors for flagging that there is an ongoing battle for scheduling between the Florida case and the other federal case in Washington, D.C.” The outlet further claimed: “But when doing so, she cited the wrong rule relating to something completely different. It has drawn mockery and further questions about Cannon being in over her head in one of the most important cases in the United States.”
Andrew Weissman, the lead prosecutor on a team led by special counsel Robert Mueller in a pointless investigation into “Trump-Russia collusion,” wrote on the X platform: “We routinely advised the two judges who had the (Paul) Manafort criminal cases of filings made in the other case. That was an obligation we felt to both judges and a courtesy. Not once were we criticized for doing so. Cannon has to be removed, whether too novice, too partisan, or both.”
Former federal prosecutor-turned-senior legal consultant for the Los Angeles Times, Harry Litman, agreed but added that it doesn’t matter if Cannon is all-in for the president who nominated her, accusing her of being unable to handle the case.
“Biased or not, Cannon simply doesn’t have the game, and she masks it with prickly remonstrations of the government,” Litman wrote. “She needs to go back to judges’ school, except there isn’t such a place.”
In September, former Trump White House lawyer Stefan Passantino filed a defamation lawsuit against Weissmann, alleging he “publicly impugned his reputation when he claimed that Passantino coached his client, former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson, to lie in congressional testimony,” Bloomberg Law reported.
“This is an insidious lie,” Passantino argued in his lawsuit. “Mr. Passantino never coached Ms. Hutchinson to lie, nor did he attempt to shape her testimony in any way.”
The outlet noted further:
In April, Passantino sued the House Jan. 6 committee on similar grounds. Both complaints revolve around Passantino’s claims that committee members, and now Weissmann, spread falsehoods by stating that he coached star witness Hutchinson to lie to the panel.
Hutchinson told the House committee that Passantino advised her to claim she did not recall the details of an episode in which former President Donald Trump was said to have lashed out at members of his security detail in an SUV on the day of the Jan. 6 riot.
The law firm of Michael Best & Friedrich dismissed Passantino not long after her testimony became public. And earlier this year, a left-wing group called Lawyers Defending Democracy filed a motion with the Washington, D.C. Bar Association seeking to have Passantino’s license suspended.
Passantino’s lawsuit says Weissmann defamed him because of a “partisan animus” while also committing an “injurious falsehood” against him. He wants a jury to award him an amount that exceeds $75,000, Bloomberg Law reported.
Last week, Cannon agreed to push back the May 2024 start date for Trump’s classified documents trial.
Investigative reporter Julie Kelly, who has been covering all of the pre-trial hearings in Miami, posted on X, “As expected, Judge Cannon will delay the trial schedule in Jack Smith’s classified documents case against Trump.”
On Friday, she posted from the court, stating that “pre-trial deadlines temporarily stayed pending order to follow.”
Kelly indicated on Wednesday that Cannon was leaning toward delaying the trial date.
“Just left classified docs case hearing in Judge Cannon courtroom,” she wrote. “She will consider a modified trial schedule given numerous issues including voluminous discovery, discovery delays, late delivery of secure location to review evidence and Trump’s conflicting trial schedules.”