Florida judge faces criticism after order in Trump case

scheduled tribe. Petersburg, Fla. (AP) — U.S. District Judge Eileen Cannon is facing scathing criticism after verdict this week To grant a request by the former President Donald Trumpfor an independent arbitrator to review documents obtained during the FBI searches his Florida property last month.

Canon on Monday authorized an outside legal expert to review records taken during the Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago as part of an investigation into Trump’s improper retention of sensitive material from the White House. The Expert shall have the power to remove any Content that may be protected by claims of attorney-client privilege or executive privilege.

The order came on strong objections from the Justice Department, which said a so-called special master was not needed because officials had already completed their review of potentially privileged documents.

Trump supporters, demanding a halt to the government’s investigation, welcomed the move. But others say that Canon gave the former president undue respect and unnecessarily stalled some investigative work by the Justice Department. They say it has slowed the pace of a federal investigation into potential Espionage Act violations.

Evan Corcoran and Lindsay Halligan, part of former President Donald Trump's legal team, attend a court hearing on September 1, 2022 in West Palm Beach, Florida, with Paul G.  Rogers leaves the Federal Building and Courthouse.  US District Judge Eileen Cannon is facing fierce criticism.  This follows his decision to grant a request by Trump's legal team for an independent arbitrator to review documents obtained during an FBI search of his Florida property last month.
Evan Corcoran and Lindsay Halligan, part of former President Donald Trump’s legal team, attend a court hearing on September 1, 2022 in West Palm Beach, Florida, with Paul G. Rogers leaves the Federal Building and Courthouse. US District Judge Eileen Cannon is facing fierce criticism. This follows his decision to grant a request by Trump’s legal team for an independent arbitrator to review documents obtained during an FBI search of his Florida property last month.

Marco Bello / AFP via Getty Images

Brandon said the Justice Department has not indicated whether he will appeal, although there are reasons why it may not be eager to do so, including concerns that it could further delay the investigation or case. may introduce legislation that is hostile to future investigations, said Brandon Fox, a Los Angeles defense attorney and former federal prosecutor.

Regardless, he said, Canon’s opinion makes the assumption of “two systems of justice.”

“The criminal justice system is set up to try to ensure that everyone is equally accountable for the crimes they have committed,” Fox said. “Here, it appears that Mr Trump is having a special advantage being a former president”.

Trump’s former attorney general, William Barr, told Fox News on Tuesday that the opinion was “deeply flawed in many ways.”

A little-known federal judge appointed by Trump to the bench two years ago, Cannon delivered what was easily the most consequential move of his career on Monday. It put the Colombian-born former federal prosecutor at the center of a raging legal debate about executive privilege and the limits of presidential power.

Cannon is the least senior federal judge for the Southern District of Florida, where five of the 16 active justices were appointed by Trump. According to court rules, cases such as the Special Master Request are assigned “on a blind rotation basis …

During his nearly seven years as an assistant U.S. attorney, Cannon worked primarily out of the U.S. Attorney’s office in Fort Pierce, Florida, which is part of the same federal district as Miami but about 130 miles (130 miles) to the north. 209 kms) away. In the more densely populated, media-heavy areas around Miami, cases are generally not given the same attention.

In early 2013, Canon prosecuted 41 cases as part of the Major Crimes Division, later handling criminal convictions and appeals of conviction.

One of them involved a defendant involved in a massive $800 million Ponzi scheme who unsuccessfully appealed several of his fraud convictions to the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. His opposing attorney in that case, longtime Miami defense attorney Richard Klugh, described Cannon as “very bright and talented” and fair to the defense.

“I didn’t see anything I could portray as anything other than a good lawyer, and there’s no political bias,” Klugh said, adding that he served as a federal judge in cases handled by canon. Although he has not appeared in his courtroom.

“She is known for fair process and trial. You like someone who really listens to you,” he said.

Born in 1981 in Cali, Colombia, when her father worked in advertising throughout South and Latin America, Cannon came to the United States as a child, eventually graduating from Duke University in 2003.

During his college years, Cannon wrote a series of articles for the El Nuevo Herald, a Spanish-language newspaper in southern Florida owned by the Miami Herald. According to a list of articles provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Canon primarily wrote about health and culture-related topics.

After earning a degree from the University of Michigan in 2007, Cannon clerked in the US Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit for US District Judge Steven M. Coloton. He then worked in private practice in Washington for three years with the leading international law firm, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.

The question of allegiance to Trump came to the fore during his 2020 Senate confirmation process, when Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein of California asked in written questions whether Cannon had “had any discussions with anyone — including White House individuals.” , but not limited to. The Justice Department, or any outside group – about loyalty to President Trump?”

“No,” was Cannon’s simple answer.

Of course, being a Trump-appointed judge does not in any way guarantee matters to be decided in his favor.

For example, in May, US District Judge Timothy J. Kelly – nominated by Trump in 2017 – allowed the House panel to investigate the January 6 Capitol riot to access marketing email data from the Republican National Committee leading up to the violence, rejecting claims that the committee’s conduct was not appropriate. . Other Trump-appointed judges have sided with the panel’s work.

But Canon’s opinion on the matter, and his views about the potential for “reputable harm” to Trump in the event of an indictment, have drawn renewed attention to his judicial background.

Cannon’s initial response to the Special Master’s request, in which he asked the Trump team for more clarity about exactly what they wanted him to do and why they thought he might have jurisdiction, suggested some skepticism. . But a few days later, she followed up with a new order in which she said it was her “initial intention” to appoint a special master, but would give the Justice Department a chance to argue against it.

Since 2005, Cannon has been a member of the Federalist Society, a conservative legal organization that has championed Trump-appointed justices, including Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Connie Barrett.

during his July 2020 confirmation hearingThe then-prosecutor noted that her mother “had to flee the oppressive Castro regime in search of freedom and security,” leaving Cuba at the age of 7.

“Thank you for teaching me about the blessings of this country and the importance of safeguarding the rule of law for generations to come,” Cannon said addressing his mother.

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