Judge Aileen Cannon Is Concerned, Disappointed in Jack Smith's Treatment of Sealed Materials

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

So much of the focus on former President Donald Trump's legal matters has been on the Manhattan case of late — for fairly obvious reasons: The trial is ongoing, and possibly due to wrap before Friday. But while the other three criminal cases against Trump currently sit in limbo (for a variety of reasons), the parties are still filing pleadings and arguing motions before Judge Aileen Cannon in the Southern District of Florida. 


Cannon is overseeing the classified documents case, which was filed following the infamous raid on Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence in August of 2022. Special Counsel Jack Smith leads the prosecution in that one (as he does in the case pending before Judge Tanya Chutkan in the D.C. Circuit over purported election interference). The parties have been wrangling over the necessary redactions in pleadings filed, with that issue being particularly thorny given that the case involves classified documents. 

As RedState reported earlier in May, Judge Cannon has indefinitely postponed the trial in the case due to the Department of Justice's mishandling of evidence. Around the same time that mishandling came to light, it was revealed that Smith's top prosecutor, Jay Bratt, met with White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain back in September 2021, almost a year before any classified documents were discovered at Mar-a-Lago. That revelation came about compliments of a newly unsealed motion. 


Special Counsel Jack Smith's Team Confirms It Tampered With Evidence, Admits to Misleading Court

WHOA: Judge Indefinitely Postpones Trump's Classified Docs Case Because DOJ Mishandled Evidence

Now, Cannon has issued an order further clarifying certain pleadings to be filed and redactions she's granting (and denying) in them as to both parties. The full order may be viewed below, but one key takeaway from Cannon's ruling is that she's concerned about the Special Counsel's representations in relation to the redactions for which they were advocating.


After setting forth her rulings as to redactions requested by Trump's legal team, Cannon turns her focus to those requested by Smith's team, noting: 

In closing, the Court deems it necessary to express concern over the Special Counsel’s treatment of certain sealed materials in this case. 


In response to those inquiries, counsel explained that the Special Counsel took the position on unsealing in order to publicly and transparently refute defense allegations of prosecutorial misconduct raised in pretrial motions. Fair enough. But nowhere in that explanation is there any basis to conclude that the Special Counsel could not have defended the integrity of his Office while simultaneously preserving the witness-safety and Rule6(e) concerns he has repeatedly told the Court, and maintains to this day, are of serious consequence, and which the Court has endeavored with diligence to accommodate in its multiple Orders on sealing/redaction. The Court is disappointed in these developments. The sealing and redaction rules should be applied consistently and fairly upon a sufficient factual and legal showing. And parties should not make requests that undermine any prior representations or positions except upon full disclosure to the Court and appropriate briefing.


(Emphasis added, citations omitted.) 

I don't know about you, but there was little worse when I was a kid than having my parents express disappointment in me. I doubt it feels much better to have a federal judge do the same. Not a banner day for Jack Smith. 

gov.uscourts.flsd.648653.552.0 by Susie Moore on Scribd


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