May 20, 2024: Aileen Cannon’s Still Not Totally Unreasonable Order

Judge Aileen Cannon has set a date for Donald Trump’s second criminal trial: May 20, 2024, to follow a second rape trial (in December) and a hush payments cover-up trial (in March).

Rape, sex workers, and then stolen classified documents, that’s what Trump will be doing as he tries to run for President.

Her order is not, on its face, unreasonable. It sets a CIPA trial for 49 weeks after it was charged, which is solidly within the scope of what it normally takes to bring these cases to trial. She has made this a complex case which is similarly not unreasonable.

The most unreasonable part of her order, thus far, is that she set the trial to be held in her tiny courtroom in Fort Pierce, making it utterly unworkable for the press.

Calendar call in this matter will be held on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, at 1:45 p.m. in the Fort Pierce Division. The case is set for Jury Trial in the Fort Pierce Division during the two-week trial period commencing on May 20, 2024.

The second most unreasonable part of her order is that she has treated the classified protective order as a month-long fully briefed affair, effectively absolving Trump and his co-defendant of conferring like grown-ups, such that classified discovery might not begin until after August 25, two months of delay she is adding to this timeline on top of the three months of delay she created last year.

Finally, she deferred on the question of whether the election will make jury selection next May impossible.

Defendants identify various additional factors the Court deems unnecessary to resolution of the Government’s motion at this juncture, most principally the likelihood of insurmountable prejudice in jury selection stemming from publicity about the 2024 Presidential Election [ECF No. 66 p. 9].

Again, this is not unreasonable, at least thus far. But she is letting Trump and Walt Nauta stall by obstructing from the outset.

149 replies
  1. John Forde says:

    It’s like the difficult run officiating basketball. Is she just backing straight up? Or is she backing at a sleight vector with the goal of obstructing the Prosecution?

    • Sue Romano says:

      Trump and his lawyers need to play out these cases; once you’ve been convicted, you’re more likely to face stiffer penalties as a convicted offender

  2. c-i-v-i-l says:

    I’m pretty sure that Carroll’s second suit is only for defamation (though clearly related to the rape for which he was already found liable) and that trial is in mid-January rather than December. There are also two other upcoming civil trials that I’m aware of: the NY state tax fraud case with a trial in October, and a class action against Trump Corp. for marketing fraud in NY with a trial at the end of January.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      The jury found it was not rape under NY law. It was also a civil, not criminal trial, so the issue and liability were only about damages.

      • Gerard Plourde says:

        While the jury’s verdict reflected the definition under the NewYork criminal statutes, the judge’s most recent ruling made clear that an assault conforming to the common understanding of what sort of sexual assault constitutes rape was proved. This means that damages can be awarded for the tort of battery (unconsented touch) in this instance of a sexual nature.

          • Longtime_Lurker says:

            From Judge Kaplan’s decision:

            The finding that Ms. Carroll failed to prove that she was “raped” within the meaning [*4] of the New York Penal Law does not mean that she failed to prove that Mr. Trump “raped” her as many people commonly understand the word “rape.” Indeed, as the evidence at trial recounted below makes clear, the jury found that Mr. Trump in fact did exactly that.

            Carroll v. Trump, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124540, *3-4
            (The only link to the entire decision I’ve found that’s not behind a paywall is a Google Drive doc, and I’m not sure that kind of link is wanted here. Also, I hope I HTML’ed right!)

              • Longtime_Lurker says:

                No, that isn’t obvious from your comment. Unless your comment was meant to express your opinion that Judge Kaplan’s decision is wrong, but in the context it reads like you assessed Gerard Plourde’s comment as misconstruing Kaplan’s decision, when it doesn’t.

                • earlofhuntingdon says:

                  You seem to misunderstand the legal meaning of the court’s comment, something the court took pains to be confusing about.

                  Carroll’s burden was not to prove rape under the common social meaning of the term. It was prove rape as defined by statute. She did not. The court’s statement regarding the common meaning of rape is understandable, but it is dicta and not legally binding.

                  Fortunately for Carroll, she met the standard for a lesser offense, which led to civil liability and money damages.

                • bmaz says:

                  No, I am good trusting the actual verdict as opposed to some bullshit by a WaPo political reporter. Also, I actually understand the difference because have had to argue it before.

                  • trnc2023 says:

                    When you see comments such as Plourde’s or Lurker’s, why do you choose to make snide, dismissive comments rather than something informative like Earl’s?

                    • bmaz says:

                      Because it was an honest answer, but get very tired of repeating ti every newbie that claims to be a “first time commenter”despite claiming they have really been around forever.

          • Suzy_22JUL2023_0941h says:

            I think Ms. Carroll has in her possession a dress with what she claims contains Mr. Trump’s semen.
            The Trump lawyers did everything in their power to prevent that DNA from being introduced into evidence in this civil case.

            [Welcome to emptywheel. Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We are moving to a new minimum standard to support community security. Because your username is far too common (there are other Sues/Suzys/Suzies in the community) it will be temporarily changed to match the date/time of your first known comment until you have a new compliant username. Thanks. /~Rayne]

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Your making two separate arguments, as if one followed from the other. Not so. The jury in a civil suit found that Carroll failed to prove rape. It did find she proved lesser conduct sufficient to impose damages on Trump.

      • Ravenclaw says:

        Not to be nitpicky, but the jury did not “find that it was not rape.” They determined that there was insufficient evidence to establish that it was.

        • Dave_04APR2019_1619h says:

          Wasn’t it like she couldn’t tell if it was the eldritch mushroom thingy vs widdle fetal alcohol t-rex claws?

          [Welcome to emptywheel. Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We are moving to a new minimum standard to support community security. Because your username is far too common (there are many Daves and Davids in this community) it will be temporarily changed to match the date/time of your first known comment until you have a new compliant username. Thanks. /~Rayne]

          • Student Driver says:

            No prob, sorry. Thanks!

            [Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum. Please be sure to use the same username and email address each time you comment. /~Rayne]

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          That is nitpicky. In a civil context, the jury found it was not rape because it didn’t meet the peculiar NY state definition of rape vs the jury did not find it was rape.

      • c-i-v-i-l says:

        Yes, I’m aware. I was referring to Marcy’s text “to follow a second rape trial (in December),” and keeping in mind the judge’s note in his recent ruling.

  3. Fiendish Thingy says:

    How gracious of Cannon to give time for most, if not all, of Trump’s other prosecutions to wrap up.

    What started out as an appetizer may end up being just desserts.

    By the time Cannon’s trial begins, Trump will likely no longer be known just as The Defendant, but as a Convicted Felon.

    • Adam Gilson says:

      “What started out as an appetizer may end up being just desserts.”

      Nice turn of phrase you got there.

      My guess is, this particular dish will be best served….cold.

        • Fiendish Thingy says:

          Which part was wrong?

          Do you think that not even a single criminal trial will be completed by May 20, and result in a conviction?

          • bmaz says:

            Everything. And, no, I do not think there will be a “single criminal trial” trial completed through conviction and appeal by then. The only possibility is that pissant NYC Alvin Bragg case as to Stormy Daniels, which would be appealed, and not finalized, by then. So, no.

            • trnc2023 says:

              If he’s convicted in the Bragg trial, he’s still a convicted felon throughout appeal and up until the point that the conviction is overturned, isn’t he?

              • bmaz says:

                The pissant Bragg case is beyond stupid. Bragg cannot even have the integrity to say how it gets magically elevated to felony status. It is a joke. And, if ever convicted, the appeal would be close to automatic and justified.

            • Fiendish Thingy says:

              My comment didn’t refer to a completed appeal process, only that there would be enough time before May 20 for a jury to return a guilty verdict in one of his other trials, thus rendering Trump a convicted felon (pending appeal), rather than merely a criminal defendant.

            • BrokenPromises says:

              Why is it that you use emotionally charged dismissive descriptive terms for people while responding to others that that is not allowed around here? I will admit that I find you intimidating with your standing here and your position as a current or former high level attorney in the federal arena. However the intimidation factor (also noted by others) comes mostly from your curt dismissive and “I know better demeanor” a trait that I associate with bullies and misguided actual authority figures any number of which I have encountered in my life. Perhaps I should just ask if I can call other govt employees, elected officials and attorney’s on active cases ‘pissants’ based on my personal opinions. I mean after all, having faced it in life, I am aware that the court of jurisdiction found reasonable cause for the case to go to trial.

              • bmaz says:

                You can call people, including government employees whatever you want. And nobody is “bullying” you. My complaints about extremely dubious state prosecutors and their actions has nothing whatsoever to do with you.

    • CovariantTensor says:

      “By the time Cannon’s trial begins, Trump will likely no longer be known just as The Defendant, but as a Convicted Felon.”

      Whatever else Trump is known as, I sincerely hope that by Jan. 20, 2025 he is still known as “Former President”. That is by far the most important outcome.

      • montysep says:

        Don’t want to get to far ahead of things. Pretty sure there was an episode of LA Law where the antagonist’s prior conviction resulted in harsher sentences down the road following additional convictions. Maybe it was Law & Order. Will find it satisfying if the sentencing guidelines provide an extra kick in the rear for the Teflon® Don.

  4. N.E. Brigand says:

    How did the far right commentariat respond when Donald Trump asked for the trial to be delayed until after November 2024? When in late June the Department of Justice requested a trial date in December 2023, four months after the August date that Judge Cannon had preliminarily set, many on the right cited this as proof that Jack Smith had brought a phony case that wouldn’t hold up in court. Trump’s request for a much later date came after it became impossible on June 30 for folks like myself without Twitter accounts to read posts there, so I never saw how those commentators reconciled that with their earlier arguments.

      • Rayne says:

        Thanks, but the contributors and moderators have enough on their hands at this time. Eventually there will be a replacement for the former Twitter widget, just can’t say when that will be.

  5. jdalessandro says:

    Why is Carroll vs. Trump II entitled to preferential scheduling over the Dox case; both are federal charges. Are there internal regulations in the federal courts which directed J Cannon to defer to the other charges?
    I worked in the State courts, so I know that the feds took precedence over us, and criminal over civil. Why would Bragg’s state charges also take precedence?

    • bmaz says:

      Everything about this comment is flat wrong. Carroll is NOT a federal “charge” it is a common civil defamation case. Cannon did not “defer” to anyone. Nothing, to date, has taken “precedence” over anything. Please don’t make people here dumber.

    • Peterr says:

      NAL, but it seems to me that those two cases were farther along than this one. They were charged/filed earlier, and have already had various motion hearings and such, including setting the starting dates for the trials. Those trial dates became part of the calendar of the various lawyers involved in this case, and so when Cannon asked for possible calendar conflicts, those dates would have come up — “I have a likely three week trial beginning on XXXXXX, and a two week trial scheduled for YYYY” — regardless of who the defendants in those other trials are or what charges were being defended.

  6. gertibird says:

    This is the start of the delay, delays, delays by Trump’s accomplish, Judge Cannon. It seems SC Smith should have foreseen this. I hope he has plans. We’ll see.

      • abbakadabra says:

        > You understand the GOVERNMENT moved to continue, not Trump and Nauta, right??

        What was their reason for doing so ?

          • ernesto1581 says:

            Understood, the business of not the Dec date never having viable. So does DOJ come in with that date to light a fire under the defense, knowing the defendant will be seeking to delay every step of the way? Or is it like coming into a labor negotiation with your most extreme position out front, flexing a bicep as you plant a flag for the horse trading which will follow?
            Or maybe just a place holder, like the August date?

            • bmaz says:

              I don’t know what their (DOJ) strategy is. But Marcy is correct that this is not an unreasonable scheduling order. I would have preferred a February or March trial date, but the one Cannon set is not particularly unreasonable.

      • Elvishasleftthebuilding says:

        The motion was to continue the trial date to December 11, 2023. In that motion, the Government argued that the August 14, 2023 would deny counsel for the defendant or the attorney for the Government the reasonable time necessary for effective preparation,” 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(7)(B)(iv), and the ends of justice served by granting this requested continuance “outweigh the best interests of the public and the defendant[s] in a speedy trial.”
        All the filings and orders for the case can be found here (at least to the extent they can only be found on PACER, which I haven’t learned how to use):

        • bmaz says:

          Lol, thanks, I am familiar. It was still stupid to not make the defense move to continue. I have a PACER account and know how to use it.

          • abbakadabra says:

            > It was still stupid to not make the defense move to continue.

            a) Why ?
            b) If they had, would a different date — one, perhaps more favorable to the prosecution — been more likely ?


            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              It’s a good rule to let each side carry its own water. If Trump’s lawyers make consistently unreasonable demands or legally insufficient arguments, which should be shot down, or if they give in where they needn’t, that’s on them.

              If prosecutors are better lawyers because Trump is a lousy client and a cheap shit, that’s on Trump, unless it rises to the level of ineffective assistance of counsel, which could generate a new trial.

              • Elvishasleftthebuilding says:

                I have not worked in this area but I would speculate as an officer of the court, especially in a case like this, that the prosecution is giving the defendants the benefit of the doubt and not being as aggressive as they could be. Less like an aggressive hardboiled version of justice officer (Elliott Ness) – more like an academic version of a prosecutor (Elliott Nice). .

                • earlofhuntingdon says:

                  Outside of his family, I’m not sure Elliot Nice and Jack Smith go together. It does not for the DoJ as a whole. This is a defendant who has demonstrated he does not deserve the benefit of any doubt.

                  I’m left with limiting the number of things Cannon can complain about. Managing the press might be a minor consideration.

        • ducktree says:

          For Pacer, you’ll need to open a pre-paid account and request a NextGen log-in to retrieve CM/ECF filings.

    • Peterr says:

      It would appear that Marcy disagrees with you. From the post above: “Her order is not, on its face, unreasonable. It sets a CIPA trial for 49 weeks after it was charged, which is solidly within the scope of what it normally takes to bring these cases to trial.”

      This is not (dum dum) Law and Order, where investigations take 30 minutes, followed by a 30 minute trial that wraps everything up neatly.

  7. bbleh says:

    Just from an arithmetic point of view, it would appear she simply split the difference: May is halfway between December and early November.

    • Scott_in_MI says:

      It’s also after the Republican primaries have wrapped, so Trump can’t complain that the trial interferes with his campaigning, but is far enough from the convention that a verdict could be delivered before it starts.

    • Tech Support says:

      After all the swirl and commotion around her previous involvement, and the subsequent drubbing by the 11th circuit, it should not be the least it surprising that she has chosen:

      1. A time frame that that is relatively immune to claims of favoritism by either side, and…
      2. A venue that limits her personal exposure to the media.

      People can say all they want about her being a MAGA tool, but even if such speculation is true, most people are motivated to minimize the amount of drama they have to deal with while they are on the job. Why would she be an exception?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        The previous swirl and commotion are what suggest she does not want to limit the drama, but to make it work for her.

  8. Myra_Bo_Byra says:

    Logistics Question: So the SCIF will be in Miami, but the trial will be in Fort Pierce? Could that cause further delay due to logistical issues during the trial itself?

    • Doug Kane says:

      I suspect that the DoJ will file a motion to move the location of the trial to Miami. I doubt Cannon will grant it, but as Dr. Wheeler correctly indicates, her actions so far in this case have not been totally unreasonable (certainly in comparison to the special master Trump v. USA case), so maybe that will continue.

    • Hormiguita says:

      There are well-established procedures for SCIF-ifying rooms, and even portable SCIFs (google turns up a bunch of companies that make them). So I wouldn’t think installing one for document storage and meetings would be a huge problem.

    • Scott_in_MI says:

      Cannon’s order mentions “expedited preparations for an accredited facility in the Northern Division of this District,” so it looks as though she’s envisioning the SCIF going to the trial location rather than the other way around.

      • Scott_in_MI says:

        Anna Bower from Lawfare mentioned in her coverage of the Tuesday pre-trial conference that the Fort Pierce courthouse is grossly inadequate for the media coverage that this trial will bring: there are only two rows of seating in the gallery, and local hotel availability is minimal.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Grossly inadequate facilities for the press would appear to be something Cannon might want. Ditto with no room for protesters and even counsel. But the most obvious rationale is that it would be convenient for her. She’s the only judge there and its her castle; anywhere else, she’s a visitor.

  9. BirdGardener says:

    Finally, she deferred on the question of whether the election will make jury selection next May impossible.

    Isn’t it highly likely that Trump will inflame his followers to such a degree that Cannon will appear to have adequate reason, come May 2024, to delay the trial until after the election because of insurmountable prejudice in jury selection stemming from publicity about the 2024 Presidential Election?

    I suspect Cannon intends to slow-walk this until she can postpone it; she’s learned to do a better job disguising her partiality.

    • BobBobCon says:

      I don’t think people should assume Cannon knows whether delay helps Trump or even if she wants to help him. She may well have strong longterm professional interests in calling this straight, she may well have strong partisan pressure to get this over with. Trump may well be complaining before long that the trials are being delayed to hurt him. She may be getting advice from fellow judges that she needs to protect the interests of the courts and just do her job. She may decide the best way to rule in Trump’s favor is to move the case forward instead of delaying.

      She may delay out of weakness or deliberate strategy, but I wouldn’t jump to any conclusions given other good reasons to possibly just plow ahead.

    • Pat Neomi says:

      There’s probably more than a colorable argument that any prejudice that may exist before the election would exist after it too. Delaying to avoid it would thus seem to be futile. Not to say a delay might not ultimately be granted, but it seems silly to think Trump would cease to engage in inflammatory rhetoric after November 2024 and that there would somehow then, and only then, be an unbiased jury pool

      • BrokenPromises says:

        There is only one date in history and it’s not arrived yet. When it does _rump will then and only then cease to engage in inflammatory rhetoric forever.

    • BirdGardener says:

      Josh Marshall has a piece suggesting that any trial re. Jan 6 would ordinarily be scheduled after the May/documents trial, giving Cannon the power to delay both trials until after the election. He argues:

      What it all comes down to is that you have a judicial and an electoral track. They may move in parallel. But a Trump victory on the electoral track will inevitably cancel a Trump defeat on the judicial one. The salient point to take from this is that Trump’s fate rests ultimately on the outcome of the election.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Puts into perspective that self-serving, untested-in-court, Nixon-era OLC opinion that says a sitting president can’t be the subject of a federal prosecution.

        • BirdGardener says:

          If Trump gets elected President, the first thing he’ll do is pardon himself. Any federal cases would be done and dusted, no?

          Uncharted waters, of course. IIRC there’s disagreement on the question as to whether or not a presidential self-pardon is constitutional—or would be judged so by the present SCOTUS; you’d know more than I on that matter. But if he gets elected, I fear such a self-pardon would not be the greatest of our democracy’s new problems.

          • Marinela says:

            If he gets elected for a second term, we have bigger problems than Trump pardoning himself.
            And yes, this incarnation of SCOTUS is going to help him any way they can.

      • Bobster33 says:

        Josh glosses over the grey area of a disputed election. i.e.,

        The most ridiculous outcome I could think of would be for the electoral college to be deadlocked, the new Republican House to elect Donald Trump to be the Speaker, to have the electoral vote in the House be undecided, and therefore the Speaker of the House (Trump) would become president.

        Nothing regarding opposing Trump has been clean or easy.

      • timbozone says:

        By slow walking the Cannon government documents trial might actually be freeing up scheduling for trials elsewhere. The issue really is how much overlap there is between issues in any trials with regard to evidentiary and privilege appeals and related rulings.

        Given Trump’s penchant for screaming “executive privilege!”, “freedom of speech!”, etc, when anyone gets close to uncovering his criminal behavior, his lawyers will try to slow roll any trial they can, including further appeals and motions that have implications across his ongoing trials. What is significant is there is a growing body of rulings against these various disingenuous filings and motions. These growing body of legal failure on appeals may gain strength and consequence to the point where his lawyers will not be able to effectively delay trials any longer; certainly not in Cannon’s court but it is hoped in just about every other venue that his lawyers try to pull their repetitive crap again.

          • Katherine Williams says:

            Marcy: “Cannon not totally unreasonable”

            BMAZ: “But Marcy is correct that this is not an unreasonable scheduling order. I would have preferred a February or March trial date, but the one Cannon set is not particularly unreasonable.”

            Neither of you seem to actually approve the trial date. Both seem to be hedging a bit as to whether its good/bad/neutral decision.

            • bmaz says:

              But we are not the judge. Cannon is. It was not unreasonable, let’s see where this goes as it gets closer to the calendar call, which is more telling than the actual trial date set, because that is where the most telling motions to continue will be lodged. Hopefully Smith is not silly enough to do it affirmatively on behalf of the Government. Again.

      • BrokenPromises says:

        I find your electoral supposition confusing. Are you referring to a primary or the actual election?
        Here’s the rub. A primary is not an election. it is a private political party choosing a candidate. It should have zero effect and in any case is clearly moot at this point.
        On the other side is a conflict. I will state right up front that in terms of law and ethical behavior it is wrong to give deference of any kind to any person running for office who is currently already under indictment and facing or going through a trial. It’s actually absurd in a democracy, you know govt by the people.
        No, giving cover to a candidate is actually ham stringing the governing – the people. The people have a right to know. If the actual trial date ends up being even two weeks before the election it must go forward. That is the interest of justice.
        Here’s the bottom line. It’s delayed till after the election, then it’s delayed for four years before learning that YUP he actually is a felon violating the laws of the United States. In this case he has been impeached for and indicted for and about to be indicted for ONLY laws related to abusing office or attempting to thwart the constitution. The American people have the stronger case in rights here as to who to elect to the office of the presidency.
        And honestly the only reason we are facing this now is that the Republicans in the Congress violated the law, violated oaths of office in acquitting him of proved high crimes.

        • bmaz says:

          So, you think being charged with a crime precludes people of their civil rights to run for office?? Seriously? You know about the innocent until proven guilty provision (See: the concept originates from the constitutional due process protections found in the 5th, 6th, 8th and 14th Amendments), don’t you??? People are so emotionally greedy to get Trump they are willing to absolutely butcher criminal law in manifold ways. It is gross.

  10. P’villain says:

    Just a tip of the hat to Dr. Wheeler for her rapid, balanced, and informed analysis of Judge Cannon’s order. Way better than anything currently circulating in the MSM, as far as I can tell.

  11. Pat Neomi says:

    Maybe a bit of classic judicial baby-splitting by Cannon? As Marcy notes above, some of the order is reasonable, some of it maybe less so. Rather than going full Trump-stan or overcorrecting for what was perceived as her prior obsequiousness, she seems to have steered a middle course in her approach to this case so far. It will be interesting to see if she continues to hew to that or if she slowly starts to drift toward Trump-i-stan.

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Some federal defendants absolutely would benefit from judicial “babysitting.” Trump is not one of them. He can afford the best legal talent on the planet – for each and every case he’s involved with. If he chooses something less than that, it’s on him.

    He doesn’t need the court to help him navigate a legal system he has spent more than five decades abusing. His status as a presidential candidate or former president is irrelevant. He’s just an unemployed former government worker, albeit a sophisticated one with at least several hundred million dollars to play with.

  13. Jharp jharp says:

    My Dad, a small town lawyer, used to say that a decision that both sides are unhappy with is often the fairest resolution.

    And I’m not opining on the merits of this decision.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      That’s what you say to yourself over drinks alone at your favorite bar, because sometimes it just means it was a bad decision.

      • Jharp jharp says:

        And another thing he used to say was that the courtroom is a damn poor place to resolve your disputes.

        Right or wrong I took his advice

        I’ve never been in a courtroom, never been deposed, and never have had the need to hire a lawyer.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          That I agree with. Not only do you lose control in formal litigation, its expensive, and decisions are sometimes made based on unrelated stuff.

  14. Operandi says:

    I agree the final date picked is in the realm of the sensible, and for everything else we’re still mostly trying to parse tea leaves, but this passage also registered on my radar as troubling.

    As it stands, the Government’s timeline spans less than six months from the first discovery production (June 21, 2023) to trial in a CIPA case involving, at the very least, more than 1.1 million pages of non-classified discovery produced thus far (some unknown quantity of which is described by the Government as “non-content”), at least nine months of camera footage (with disputes about pertinent footage), at least 1,545 pages of classified discovery ready to be produced (with more to follow), plus additional content from electronic devices and other sources yet to be turned over.

    She basically adopts wholesale all of the Defense’s maximally inflated definitions of discovery volume. The Government’s footnote stating “nearly one-third […] consists of non-content email header and footer information” gets transformed into an “unknown quantity” in her telling (I guess prosecutors need to always supply exact numbers going forward, as any ambiguity will be used against them). And she sticks with Defense’s styling of snippets of camera footage spanning 9 months as “9 months of camera footage”.

    Obviously using the bigger numbers helps buttress her finding of complexity, but I’m also seeing echoes of the prior case here, where, whenever the quantity and nature of materials was in dispute, her skepticism seemed to only run in one direction.

  15. jvincent says:

    My greatest fear is jury nullification. Cannon has already set a 10 question limit during voir dire and now sets the trial in Fort Pierce with a more Trump-friendly jury pool. I’d expect the defendant’s social media pressure campaign to rachet up come jury selection time. Does Cannon have final say over where the trial occurs?

    • bmaz says:

      Thanks for joining the EW comment section, There is no such thing as “jury nullification”. It is literally against the law. Jurors need to read their instructions and decide accordingly. Anything less is pure garbage.

        • bmaz says:

          There is no way to allot for that possibility. But, by and large, criminal juries really do take their job seriously, and generally get it right.

          • Knowatall says:

            “by and large” still misses many miscarriages of justice committed by juries, especially in the South of the US. While ‘jury nullification” is a fanciful concept, there can be shenanigans.

            • bmaz says:

              Well, that is certainly not my experience. Not at all. I consider almost all hysteria over juries be complete bullshit.

              • Dave_MB says:

                I would think less shenanigans than a dedicated MAGA juror that might decide to vote for Trump regardless of the facts. Trump is not an average defendant.

                And agree that jurors take their job seriously and that is less a problem than most people say.

          • BrokenPromises says:

            I recently sat in court but not called for voir dire and was amazed at the thoroughness of the questioning and clarifying of the answers on a simple domestic assault case. I would expect that the judges 10 questions would get the same thorough follow up in _rump’s high profile case. It actually lasted for at least parts of two days.

      • jvincent says:

        Thanks for the welcome. More precisely, I fear a single juror who is not honest during voir dire questioning and decides to acquit based on personal beliefs, not the law. Given the fact-adverse nature of a portion of our country this doesn’t seem far fetched. I thought that in this case extended voir dire questioning would be one way to alot for the possibility of one bad actor on a jury.

  16. Gnommon says:

    The trial will not happen before the election. This is a two-part plan. Judge Cannon knows the outrage that would follow any decision now to postpone the trial any further than she already has. She also knows that a May trial date does the least damage to Trump, because he’ll have secured the nomination by then. This is Part 1 of a two part plan. In May, reasons will be found to postpone the trial until after the election. Postponing the trial in May will seem more reasonable—he’ll be the nominee, after all—and thus provoke less outrage.

    • Scott_in_MI says:

      Technically, no one is the nominee until the convention, when the delegates vote. It’s rather like the presidential election in that way.

    • Rayne says:

      Sure, Christian, except the nomination isn’t formally cinched until the convention when the delegates commit. Here’s when the RNC had their convention over the last six presidential election cycles:

      2000 – July 31-August 3

      2004 – August 30-September 2

      2008 – September 1-September 4

      2012 – August 27-August 30

      2016 – July 18–July 21

      2020 – August 24-August 27

      You’re going to have to come up with reasons why the trial will be delayed in May because simply saying “reasons will be found” isn’t enough. I’m surprised you didn’t suggest his health since a lot can happen to a +77-year-old man who has a shitty diet and survived a bout of COVID.

  17. xyxyxyxy says:

    Okay, so there’s the trial and everything goes fairly smoothly.
    If he’s found guilty can she sentence him to, let’s say, one day in jail?
    He accepts it, serves a day and then just continues to other trials or whatever he decides to do.
    McFadden has let violent insurrectionists walk.

    • RitaRita says:

      I don’t care if Trump never spends a day in jail. No amount of jail time can make up for the harm he has done and is doing to the country.

      What I hope to see is the indictment, the evidence, and the trial that establishes a no-spin record of the efforts to deprive citizens of the effect of their vote. If the indictment to come is as thorough as the “Documents” indictment, it will lay out not only a damning criminal case, but also will demonstrate Trump’s manifest unfitness for office.

      I’d much rather see his allies, like John Eastman, Rudy Giuliani, and Cleta Mitchell serve time. These are people who possibly could have stopped Trump’s madness but instead encouraged it.

      • xyxyxyxy says:

        So you’re advocating for multiple tiers of justice!
        And also, if someone can walk after committing a crime, why shouldn’t we all be crimin’ knowing that we will not be held accountable?

        • bmaz says:

          Because nobody has “walked” yet, sentencing guidelines, both state and federal, have ranges for the court to select from. And “multiple levels of justice” can also be viewed as abusive and vindictive prosecution. And, yes, I have a bit of skin in this historically. It matters. Parallel prosecutions, and vindictive ones, should be avoided at all cost.

          A district court, or a court of appeals, upon application by a defendant, may stay the sentence for the duration of appeal. Same in NY. It would be stunning if Trump were not granted such a request. So, if so, that “conviction” is not final at all, it remains a finding of guilt only until remanded for reimposition of sentence.

          • P’villain says:

            Relief granted for good cause shown, or is the standard more specific/stringent? I’m just curious – would agree it would be stunning not to grant such relief to a former president, whatever the standard.

            [Moderator’s note: PLEASE PAY ATTENTION TO NAME/EMAIL/URL FIELDS. You entered your email address as your URL. It cleared moderation which means you may get spam. I have deleted your URL field but this is NOT a habit I want to get into. You also added an extra L to your username which has also been edited. /~Rayne]

            • bmaz says:

              Yes, that is about it. “good cause” is basically “seems like the right thing to do”. It almost certainly would be on this type of question and circumstances.

    • David F. Snyder says:

      A quote from the article that deserves emphasis to tamp down fears of Cannon:

      Most of all, Judge Cannon made clear her preference that the trial be put on the docket sooner rather than later. “I don’t want to have delays,” she warned the defense team, then concluded by promising to issue a ruling “promptly.” Less than 72 hours later, she set the May trial date, which falls two months before the Republican National Convention, when Mr. Trump, the current Republican front-runner, could be at the start of a general election campaign.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        The NYT is a suspect source regarding anything about Trump.

        I think it’s too soon to characterize what Cannon will do, whether it’s repeat her egregiously pro-Trump nonsense or try to be scrupulously fair.

        • David F. Snyder says:

          They’re blnot going to screw up the court transcript.

          She warned the defense once about delays. That’s the point here. That’s a tell: she won’t be tolerating or falling for delay tactics.

          Florida lawyer Lauro just got hired on to Trump’s team, so it’s fair to let him get up to speed on the case. He’s the most qualified on Trump’s legal team to understand that area of law.

          Cannon was overly cautious before; the scheduling seems to strike a fair balance.

          • Rwood0808 says:

            I have to disagree.

            She picked a date as far down the calendar as she could get away with without drawing criticism. I fully expect her to delay it further at some point in the future. Her warning to trumps lawyers was nothing but show. She’ll probably stay between the lines this time around but her rulings will still skew in trumps favor.

            She just added three months and probably more to trumps overall delay plan. Even if the trial is completed and trump is found guilty he’ll still be allowed to appeal and as Bmaz says he’ll be out while that appeal is pending. So he’ll be free to campaign and possibly win office, which will nullify every charge against him.

            Bring on the J6 indictment. We’re already a year behind.

            • bmaz says:

              You have any facts to back that up with? Because while maybe a tad further out than I would have preferred, it is a perfectly reasonable scheduling order. At least so far, you are engaging in hyperbolic BS.

              • Rwood0808 says:

                Call it what you like.

                I find it odd that everyone is suddenly thinking that she has seen the error of her ways and undergone a complete reversal of her FedSoc mindset just because she made one ruling that was considered normal.

                She revealed herself with her prior ruling. When someone shows you who they really are it’s best to believe them.

                • earlofhuntingdon says:

                  Exaggeration and cliches, unless artfully done, are the enemy of a good argument.

                  Few to no one here is saying Cannon has seen the error of her ways. They are saying it’s too soon to tell.

  18. Boatsail says:

    I wonder if Marcy thinks Cannon can try a case of this magnitude without committing reversible error???

    • timbozone says:

      Boatsail, why wonder about Marcy’s thoughts on the possibility a projected future reversals in this instance? Seems like your odd comment has unnecessary rhetorical flourish…

  19. BIll Dyer (aka Beldar) says:

    Worth noting that in footnote four, she invited briefing on the jury selection/contamination issues.

    This is close enough to a sweet spot for the trial date to be effectively bulletproof on mandamus without some dramatic change in circumstances IMHO.

    My concern with holding the trial in Fort Pierce isn’t the press, but the jury pool. But perhaps the pro-Trump voting patterns are at least somewhat offset by law-and-order conservatives who, as jurors, might be especially inclined to follow court instructions and focus on evidence and issues, not elections. Regardless, Smith was limited by venue laws, and presumably figured his venue risks when he chose to indict in SDFL.

    • timbozone says:

      How was Jack Smith “limited by venue laws” to SDFL? The documents case was almost certainly more proper to present in DC where PRA and various federal EP is more properly adjudicated. In other words, it is more likely that due to reasons of logistics and/or other reasons we do not fully understand, Jack Smith chose to bring this in SDFL. If you have some concrete information to share with me about how he was “forced” to bring this in SDFL, please provide a citation and link to the federal laws that would require this.

        • timbozone says:

          Okay, “Scott” or “Bill” (or whomever else is itchin’ to), which >specific< Federal law >required< that Smith charge Nauta in SDFL as opposed to, say, the DC circuit?

          • Scott_in_MI says:

            IANAL, but this looks pretty cut-and-dried to me:

            Unless a statute or these rules permit otherwise, the government must prosecute an offense in a district where the offense was committed. The court must set the place of trial within the district with due regard for the convenience of the defendant, any victim, and the witnesses, and the prompt administration of justice.

            Source: https:// www. law. cornell. edu/rules/frcrmp/rule_18

            Nauta’s obstructive actions happened in FL, not in DC.

            • bmaz says:

              Are you sure of that? Do you know what the DC GJ has heard? Do you understand the cross jurisdictional nature of conspiracy cases? Just asking. So, no, it is not particularly “cut and dried”.

              • Scott_in_MI says:

                Under what circumstances, hypothetically, could criminal conduct which – to all appearances – happened entirely in SDFL be charged in DC?

                • bmaz says:

                  Not sure how often this needs be explained, but conspiracy. And you have no idea in the world what actually happened in DC. If you were on a DC grand jury, you should be immediately arrested for violating Rule 6. If not, then you do not know anything and ought hold your water.

    • bmaz says:

      Each district court randomly selects citizens’ names from lists of registered voters and people with drivers licenses who live in that district. The entire district. It will not be only Ft. Pierce city limits, it will be Miami and everywhere else in SDFL.

      • Rayne says:

        I laugh my ass off every time this subject comes up, thinking of my mom and my dad getting a jury duty summons given their proximity to Ft. Pierce.

        • RipNoLonger says:

          Hoping your parents are as educated as you are, Rayne. Some unfortunates have parents of very different persuasions.

          • Rayne says:

            They’re both college grads and generally vote for conservatives. But my mom is rabid about her dislike of Trump (which I had no role in cultivating), and my dad who once was Navy SIGINT believes Trump has been “irresponsible” about the classified documents.

            *buying even more popcorn futures*

      • BrokenPromises says:

        You reminded me of the man I knew in Toastmasters who had just completed his law degree studies with an emphasis in constitutional law. He noted just how divided most states are in terms of party affiliation, at least back then before the recent shrinkage of the Republican party. It’s mostly just low single digits across the nation. I am confident that this includes Florida where recently Democrats were trending strongly. Given that juries are selected across counties and cities rather than voting districts I would expect a good spectrum of jurors.

        • bmaz says:

          In federal district court, they are divided only by districts. Has nothing to do with cities and counties. And, by the way, find a substantive way to contribute. Carping at us here is not it.

  20. HikaakiH says:

    Given: (A) Judge Cannon got checked hard (her own ass handed to her on a plate) on appeal in the civil suit about these documents; (B) Judge Cannon will remain a Federal Judge for many years after Trump has shuffled off this mortal coil; and (C) Judge Cannon’s life here after will be so much nicer if she doesn’t make a mess of this case: I think it is reasonable to expect Judge Cannon to be trying very hard to play this case as straight as possible with no overt assistance nor hindrance to either side. (Of course my opinion is worth less than the electricity used by the pixels you’ve just used to read this comment.)

Comments are closed.