Gaetz Questions Pressure on Judge Aileen Cannon for Trump Documents Case

Gaetz Questions Pressure on Judge Aileen Cannon for Trump Documents Case

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
June 28, 2024

Former President Donald Trump's legal case for supposedly mishandling classified documents in Miami has slowed considerably thanks to Judge Aileen Cannon. However, Southern District Chief Judge Cecilia Altonaga seems to think the case is not moving fast enough, with recent allegations suggesting she had pressured Cannon to drop the case and let a more liberal judge handle it. Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has written a letter demanding answers from the Chief Judge if the allegations are true.

Last week, the New York Times revealed that Altogana and another Federal judge approached Cannon after she took the case last year, "each asked her to consider whether it would be better if she were to decline the high-profile case, allowing it to go to another judge."

The Times noted that President Trump appointed Judge Cannon, and she supposedly defended him by delaying the trial until after the November election.

However, Rep. Gaetz noted in his letter, "The timing (apparently well into the litigation) and the fact that the New York Times has described this effort as "extraordinary" do warrant at least a reach out from Congress."

At the same time, the Florida Congressman assured Altonaga that he was "well aware of the dynamics of a collegial court, and the facts, as reported by the media, may be wrong.  There is nothing untoward in a senior colleague explaining to a more junior colleague about the pitfalls of an assigned case and providing options to her. But the article suggests much more than that."

As a result, Rep. Gaetz has raised the crucial need for transparency in the legal system. He has asked several questions for the Chief Judge to answer, such as if and when a personal conversation asking her to drop the case occurred. This transparency is essential to maintain the integrity of the legal process.

Moreover, he inquired if the conversation was "protected by any canons of court conduct or judicial ethics, such that leaks to the New York Times may constitute a violation of those rules" on leaks and if investigations and solutions were in place.

Gaetz has set a deadline for the Chief Judge to respond, underlining the urgency of the situation. He expected answers no later than July 5th, emphasizing the need for immediate action to address these serious allegations.

Over the weekend, Cannon will hold a hearing on whether or not Special Counsel Jack Smith's appointment as prosecutor in the case was lawful, as the Trump legal team has claimed it was not.

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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