Jack Smith Puts Consequences For Judge Cannon On The Table In Trump’s Docs Case

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In a new filing amid the criminal case against Donald Trump that accuses him of mishandling sensitive government records that were eventually recovered after his presidency from his Florida resort Mar-a-Lago, federal prosecutors sounded fed up with Judge Aileen Cannon.

Cannon was originally nominated for the federal judiciary by Trump himself when the ex-president was still in office, and some have criticized the judge throughout her involvement in these proceedings for argued concessions of sort to the Trump team. And there’s an easy barometer for this in that Trump barely even mentions Cannon in his public commentary, despite so incessantly going after figures perceived as opposing him in other cases.

In short, the federal prosecutors on Trump’s documents Case just lambasted the notion — which Cannon gave some leeway so far — that designations of certain documents as “personal” allow for what Trump was doing with the materials evidently harbored across Mar-a-Lago. The imagined “personal” designation that is under dispute here would stand in contrast to the “presidential” designation for records covered by federal law demanding the government’s preservation of such items. None of that even represents the key issue here, prosecutors said, instead pointing to the Espionage Act, under which Trump was charged.

“The PRA’s distinction between personal and presidential records has no bearing on whether a former President’s possession of documents containing national defense information is authorized under the Espionage Act, and the PRA should play no role in the jury instructions on the elements of Section 793,” the government said.

And they demanded that there be opportunities to appeal if the judge tries moving forward with a legal interpretation that would allow Trump claiming a document was “personal” to have significant impacts in this case.

“If the Court wrongly concludes that it does, and that it intends to include the PRA in the jury instructions regarding what is authorized under Section 793, it must inform the parties of that decision well in advance of trial,” prosecutors added, referring to Cannon potentially deciding in favor of that interpretation. “The Government must have the opportunity to consider appellate review well before jeopardy attaches.” Appeals courts could essentially steer certain aspects of the case, overruling Cannon if found appropriate.