Judge Cannon’s order backing Trump was overturned after ‘hostile’ hearing, experts say

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A federal appeals court is expected to block a special examination of classified government documents seized from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.

Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Eileen Cannon, a Trump appointee in 2020, sided with the former president, selecting longtime federal judge Raymond Deary from Trump’s proposed list to appoint a special master to examine documents for potentially privileged information. lawyers. Legal experts have repeatedly questioned Cannon’s involvement in the case, particularly after he overruled Dearie on key issues, as he pressured Trump’s lawyers to provide evidence to support their case.

During a tense 40-minute hearing in Atlanta, a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals appeared to side with the Justice Department’s appeal that Cannon erred in appointing a special master in the first place. The New York Times.

In its questions, the committee expressed concern that Cannon “acted without precedent” and “overstepped the bounds” by ordering the investigation and tried to prevent the government from using the seized documents in its investigation. Two of the judges were Trump appointees.

Attorneys for the DOJ argued that there was no precedent for Cannon to be involved in an unindicted case, and that he should never have been involved because there was no evidence of the August search of Mar-a-Lago. illegal.

Judge Andrew Brasher, a Trump appointee, pressed Trump attorney James Trusty to cite “another federal court decision” that had made a similar ruling. Trying to dodge the question of credibility, claiming that the “raid” of Trump’s property was itself unprecedented, Judge Britt Grant, another Trump appointee, called him out for describing the lawful search as a “raid.”

“None of the judges asked the Justice Department any questionable questions.” Time report added.

Brasher and Grant were previously on a different three-judge panel that unanimously blocked part of Cannon’s order barring the FBI from reviewing nearly 100 documents deemed classified in its investigation, arguing that the DOJ abused its power and never had jurisdiction. supported. place. Later, the Supreme Court rejected Trump’s appeal against the decision.

Trump and his lawyers have made a number of dubious claims to defend the documents found at Mar-a-Lago, claiming at various times that some were his personal property and others that he declassified the documents before leaving office. Trump and his lawyers have also made unsubstantiated claims that the FBI may have “planted” evidence during the search. When pressed on Dearie’s claims, they offered no evidence.

In one of Tuesday’s hearings, Chief Justice William Pryor, a George W. Bush appointee, asked why Trump’s lawyers sought a special master in the first place without determining that the search was illegal.

“If you can’t prove it’s illegal,” he said, “then what are we doing here?”

During the hearing, Trusty argued that the warrant itself was a “general warrant” that was too broad.

“That seems to be a new argument,” Pryor replied. “It really shifted the sands of the debate.”

Legal experts predicted a quick ruling against Trump in the case, which would end the special master review and give the DOJ access to thousands of documents seized from Mar-a-Lago.

“It appears that the Court of Appeals is hostile to Trump’s position and is likely to side with the Justice Department.” he tweeted former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti.

“It really looks like it’s on the fast track to a comeback” agreed Former U.S. Attorney Harry Litman, adds “It was very satisfying to dismantle every one of Cannon’s absolutely insane reasons for the 11th Circuit — in the form of two Trump judges and another Republican — to instigate itself in strange and unprecedented ways in Trump’s favor.”

In other words, he wrote Cal Berkeley Law Professor Orin Kerr said, “the judges on the panel responded to Trump’s arguments the same way you would expect them to respond to the same arguments made by anyone not named Trump.”

Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe predicted the court’s 3-0 decision.

“Goodbye Cannon” he wrote.