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Home High profile 'Incompetent or unfair in ruling': Lawyers mock Mar-a-Lago judge as unintelligent after she confirms start of Trump’s Espionage Act trial is uncertain

'Incompetent or unfair in ruling': Lawyers mock Mar-a-Lago judge as unintelligent after she confirms start of Trump’s Espionage Act trial is uncertain


Lawyers on the airwaves and elsewhere severely criticized Judge Aileen Cannon, several of them directly bashing her intelligence in light of her indefinite delay of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago trial.

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Aileen Cannon, Ty Cobb

Judge Aileen Cannon, shown on the left (U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida), Donald Trump’s former White House lawyer Ty Cobb criticizes Cannon’s ruling on CNN, May 7, 2024 (CNN/screengrab)

Following a decision postponing Donald Trump’s Espionage Act trial indefinitely, the judge in the Mar-a-Lago case faced more criticism, including from a former Trump White House lawyer who said she isn’t 'capable of ruling intelligently or fairly' on issues.

It was already clear that U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon was going to have to change the May 20 trial date when she revealed that Trump’s defense would have more time to file a key notice under the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA) to specify whether the defense plans to use classified information obtained from discovery at trial.

But the Cannon's subsequent order, establishing new deadlines for CIPA litigation into July as well as a three-day hearing in late June on a defense motion to compel discovery and the scope of special counsel Jack Smith’s team, concluded by leaving the trial date uncertain. The judge, a Trump appointee, said it would be “imprudent” to set a trial date now considering the number of issues she’s left unresolved.

“The Court also determines that finalization of a trial date at this juncture—before resolution of the myriad and interconnected pre-trial and CIPA issues remaining and forthcoming—would be imprudent and inconsistent with the Court’s duty to fully and fairly consider the various pending pre-trial motions before the Court, critical CIPA issues, and additional pretrial and trial preparations necessary to present this case to a jury,” the order said. “The Court therefore vacates the current May 20, 2024, trial date (and associated calendar call), to be reset by separate order following resolution of the matters before the Court, consistent with Defendants’ right to due process and the public’s interest in the fair and efficient administration of justice.”

While conservatives applauded Cannon’s ruling, framing the hearings on the scope of the prosecution and Trump’s selective prosecution claims as a near “extended mini-trial” of Jack Smith (’s evidence mishandling allegations and certain prosecutorial admissions), lawyers on X, MSNBC, and CNN severely criticized Cannon, several of them directly criticizing the judge’s intelligence.

Though at least one reporter who’s been in Cannon’s courtroom has since advised against “psycho-analyzing” the judge, former FBI special agent and legal commentator Asha Rangappa concluded that the jurist is “intellectually out of her league” and is operating in “paranoid state” given the special counsel’s prior threat to appeal.

“I think that Judge Cannon is intellectually out of her league and is having some weird analysis paralysis because her personal partisanship makes her place Trump’s bizarre arguments (like that nuclear secrets are his personal records) on par with Smith’s *actual* legal arguments,” Rangappa said on X. “She’s afraid of making any mistake, lest Smith have a basis to appeal and perhaps get her removed, and so in this lost, ineffective, and paranoid state, the best she can hope for is that Trump gets elected and the case just goes away. So that’s her play.”

Ty Cobb, the former White House lawyer for Trump during the Mueller investigation, had previously strongly criticized Cannon’s decision-making publicly. legally “embarrassing.” He took it a step further during an appearance on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront” on Tuesday.

“Today, all she really did was confirm what everyone, including Jack Smith, already knew: She had no intention of taking this case to trial, and she was not capable of doing so,” Cobb said. said“She mentions her duty to fully and fairly consider the pending motions. She has had months to do that and has made little progress. She has ruled on only three of the 12 motions to dismiss, all of which could have been easily resolved by now,” he added.

Then came the harshest criticisms.

“Frankly, I believe it was always her goal to prevent this case from going to trial. Her inability–complete inability–to do so was made very clear. This decision was a combination of bias and incompetence,” he stated.

Cobb stated that no other judge would have set a hearing on the scope of the prosecution team.

“That’s a frivolous motion. No other judge would actually hold a hearing on that. But she has scheduled one,” he remarked, describing the judge’s actions as “very difficult to understand” and “devastating” for the country.

“She has not acted in the public’s interest for a single day in this case, as she has apparently been unable to make decisions on easily resolvable motions from her office. Unfortunately, this case will not go to trial–despite the fact that it is one of the most important cases in history and could have been tried before the election,” Cobb continued.

In conclusion, Cobb expressed that Cannon is “not capable of making fair and intelligent decisions on most of the pending motions and especially the issues concerning classified information.” He predicted that Cannon would be removed from the case before trial, but acknowledged that her recent order would not likely be the basis for such an action.

At least one other figure from the Mueller investigation era also seemed to be confused by Cannon’s struggle with the merits of the Espionage Act case, despite her access to the classified documents involved.

“It’s really worth noting that the Court has actually seen all of the highly classified documents at issue that were not returned to Archives and DOJ–and still seems to be struggling with the merits of the case,” former Mueller probe prosecutor Brandon Van Grack pointed out. commented Former federal prosecutor and legal analyst Renato Mariotti agreed with Cobb that there’s essentially “nothing” Jack Smith can do to expedite the court calendar that Cannon has established.

“Realistically, there is nothing Jack Smith can do to move the Mar-a-Lago case forward to trial before the election. Judges have extensive discretion over their trial calendar, which is why Judge Cannon has the ability to avoid setting a trial date at this time,” Mariotti explained.

However, others criticized Cannon for “ said on X.

” causing the trial delay herself by not resolving pending motions.literallySen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut and lawyer, also chimed in on Wednesday, calling Cannon’s rulings “aberrant” and “erratic” enough to prompt her removal from the case.

Blumenthal said that the judge's unusual and unpredictable decisions make people doubt if she should be handling such a challenging case.

according to CBS News’ Scott MacFarlane During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Wednesday, legal correspondent Lisa Rubin suggested that Cannon's decisions are influenced by her feeling overwhelmed and anxious because the case is too difficult for her..

Legal correspondent Lisa Rubin thinks that the judge is feeling overwhelmed and uncertain, and this is affecting her decisions. She seems to be struggling with anxiety because of the importance of the case. This combination of doubt in your own decisions, the seriousness of the case, and maybe a tendency to slow down when you lack confidence in yourself is a dangerous mix.

CNN legal analyst Norm Eisen, the former Obama administration ethics czar,

ultimately predicted , like Cobb, that the end result will be: No Mar-a-Lago trial start this year. If that happens and if Trump wins the 2024 election, the federal case disappearing is viewed as a fait accompli.Eisen stated in a CNN segment that the judge's decision is terrible and is part of a series of mistakes dating back to her involvement with the investigation of the mishandling of classified documents before the indictment was even made.

said in one CNN segment Eisen commented that she was heavily criticized by very conservative judges on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals twice for her actions. Unfortunately, there's not much that can be done about it at this point. It's still a miscarriage of justice.Lawyers on the airwaves and elsewhere severely criticized Judge Aileen Cannon, several of them directly bashing her intelligence because she indefinitely postponed Trump’s Mar-a-Lago trial.

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