Judge Cannon Just Fired a Powerful Blow Agains Special Counsel Jack Smith

Special Counsel Jack Smith should know that not all judges can be counted on to be left-wing hacks.

Judge Aileen Cannon, who is overseeing Smith’s prosecution of Donald Trump regarding classified documents kept at Mar-a-Lago, pulled no punches on Monday after unsealing two motions made by the DOJ.

Here is a motion the judge received:

The Special Counsel moves [ECF No. 97] for a Garcia hearing to inquire into
“potential conflicts of interests that may arise from attorney Stanley Woodward, Jr.’s prior and current representation of three individuals the Government may call to testify at the trial of his client Waltine Nauta” [ECF No. 97 p. 1]. Simultaneously, the Special Counsel moves for leave [ECF No. 95] to file under seal a “Supplement” containing additional information “to facilitate the Court’s inquiry” [ECF No. 96; see ECF No. 97 p. 2 n.2, p. 6]. 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.

The special counsel wanted to keep certain things hidden from the public in order to keep mining another grand jury that doesn’t even reside in Cannon’s district for related charges.

Instead of granting the motions, the judge unsealed both of them to make them public and is now demanding answers from Smith on why he’s even continuing to use an out-of-district grand jury for matters pertinent to the prosecution in her court.

This is the response from Judge Cannon:

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. The Special Counsel shall respond to that discussion in a Reply in Support of the Motion [ECF No. 97], due on or before August 22, 2023.

Conservatives have been critical of Smith’s handling of the case from the start. They have accused him of being biased against Trump and of trying to drag out the case as long as possible.

Cannon’s rebuke is likely to fuel these criticisms. It also raises the possibility that Smith could be removed from the case.