The ongoing legal battle between former President Donald J. Trump and the DOJ reminds us that elections matter.
In what Trump’s team could consider lucky or intervention from God, the judge who would hear the case surrounding the documents taken during the FBI’s raid of Mar-a-lago, is not a radical judicial activist, but instead a constitutionalist who believes in the equal application and justice for all.
Aileen Mercedes Cannon is a Colombian-born American lawyer and jurist who serves as a U.S. district judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. She was nominated by President Donald Trump and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2020.
Judge Cannon once again intervened this time approving requests from former President Donald Trump’s legal team.
On August 27, 2022, Judge Cannon announced the “preliminary intent to appoint a special master” to review all of the records seized by the FBI during its unprecedented raid on President Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago.
The judge said she was concerned that the FBI raid on Mar-a-lago “involved political calculations” to diminish the leading voice of the Republican Party just months before the midterm election.
Her decision was made upon reviewing Trump’s submissions and “the exceptional circumstances presented.”
“Pursuant to Rule 53(b) (1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Court’s inherent authority, and without prejudice to the parties’ objections, the Court hereby provides notice of its preliminary intent to appoint a special master in this case,” Cannon wrote.
The judge overruled her own special master’s order that would have forced Trump to identify any documents he claims were planted by FBI agents.
Judge Cannon issued an order extending the timeline of an outside review Trump demanded of the documents and other materials the FBI seized from Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach on Aug. 8 as part of an investigation into the alleged unlawful retention of classified materials and other government records as well as obstruction of justice.
She also overruled some of the procedures proposed by the independent reviewer, senior U.S. District Court Judge Raymond Dearie, whom she appointed to the role at Trump’s request.
Cannon, based in Fort Pierce, Fla., in effect, adopted a slower timeline proposed by Trump’s attorney for the document review to be conducted by Dearie, who is based in Brooklyn.
Under Cannon’s new order, the review and her handling of any objections to Dearie’s rulings will most likely drag out the process for over a year.
In addition, Cannon rejected Dearie’s plan to require Trump to say at the outset of the review whether he believes the FBI’s inventory of seized materials is faulty, either by omitting items that were seized, including items that were not seized, or both.
Trump has repeatedly suggested that the FBI planted evidence at his home during the court-ordered search.
“There shall be no separate requirement on Plaintiff at this stage, prior to the review of any of the Seized Materials, to lodge ex-ante final objections to the accuracy of Defendant’s Inventory, its descriptions, or its contents,” Cannon wrote.
Trump will now be allowed to raise such concerns later in the process.
Cannon ruled against Dearie’s plan to break the documents into sets and handle objections on a rolling basis.
Instead, there will be one deadline, which is likely to arrive in early November, by which Trump’s side must state which specific documents it believes are subject to the attorney-client privilege or executive privilege as well as which he believes qualify as presidential records or personal records under the terms of the Presidential Records Act.
Prosecutors had initially asked for the review to be completed by mid-October, while Trump had proposed a mid-December timeline. Cannon’s ruling aligns with Trump’s preferred schedule, contemplating Dearie finishing his work by December 16. She would then take up objections by either side to the special master’s rulings in a process.
The volume of materials involved in the review grew exponentially.
Originally the judge was ruling on the handling of 11,000 documents, but Trump’s lawyers said in a court filing Wednesday that during a discussion about digitizing and organizing the documents prosecutors said that up to 200,000 pages of materials may be involved.
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