Judge Aileen Cannon

CNN’s Elie Honig Torpedoes Democrats’ Hopes Trump’s Classified Docs Judge Will Exit Case

Judge Aileen Cannon
Judge Aileen Cannon

CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig dashed Democrats’ desires Friday that former President Donald Trump’s classified documents judge will leave the case.

More senior judges asked U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon to step down from the case shortly after she received it because of lack of experience and previously ruling in favor of Trump, The New York Times reported on Thursday. 

Honig on “CNN Newsroom With Jim Acosta” said it would be unheard of for Cannon to step down due to not being sufficiently qualified to handle the case.

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“For multiple more senior judges to say, ‘you may be in over your head here’ is really unusual, but I should say if she were to step away for that reason, she’s not going to, that would be completely unprecedented,” Honig told host Jim Acosta. “I mean, I’ve never heard of a federal judge saying, ‘I’m removing myself not because of a conflict of interest, but because I’m not up to it. That would be a very strange result.”

“Now, important to know, it’s very rare to see a judge forcefully removed from a case,” he added. “It does happen occasionally. The first thing that would typically have to happen, though, is Jack Smith, the prosecutor, would have to ask for it. And prosecutors are very wary of doing that. One, because you don‘t want to look like you’re judge shopping, two because it‘s kind of dicey if you say, ‘court of appeals, I’d like you to remove Judge Acosta’ and the court of appeal says ‘no’ and then you got to go back in front of Judge Acosta, hypothetically.”

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Cannon is hearing arguments Friday to decide whether the entire classified documents case should be tossed on account of the alleged unconstitutionality of special counsel Jack Smith’s appointment. Trump’s attorneys assert Smith, a private citizen neither nominated by the president nor confirmed by the Senate at the time of his November 2022 appointment by Attorney General Merrick Garland, does not possess the power to indict.

“I do think if Judge Cannon rules that he’s improperly appointed, that would be a shocking ruling and might give him a basis to ask … to reverse her and … remove her,” Honig said.

Cannon in April indefinitely postponed Trump’s trial in May where the former president confronts 41 felony counts. Smith indicted him in June 2023 on charges pertaining to his handling of classified documents.

Liberal commentators and legal analysts have frequently criticized Cannon for perceived bias in favor of Trump, but legal experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation she is being fair and following normal procedure.

Daily Caller News Foundation

First published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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