Judge Accused of Failing to Enforce Deadline in Trump’s Classified-Documents Case, Raising Questions of Delay Tactics

MIAMI, FLORIDA – The judge presiding over former President Donald Trump’s federal classified-documents case is facing accusations of neglecting to enforce a routine deadline, raising suspicions that Trump is seeking to delay the trial until after the upcoming presidential election in November. Judge Aileen Cannon, who was appointed to the bench by Trump, has rejected Special Counsel Jack Smith’s request to compel the former president to disclose whether he plans to use a defense based on advice received from his lawyers during the trial. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has been contacted for comment on the matter.

Trump, who has pleaded not guilty to 40 charges related to allegations of illegally retaining top-secret and classified material after leaving office, as well as obstructing federal attempts to retrieve them from his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, vehemently denies all accusations. He repeatedly claims that the charges are part of a political witch hunt aimed at derailing his potential 2024 GOP presidential nomination.

Judge Cannon has previously faced demands to recuse herself from the case due to concerns about potential bias, given her previous rulings that have been perceived as favoring the Republican Party. These decisions have raised doubts about her ability to remain impartial in this matter.

The recent rejection by Cannon of federal prosecutors’ motion to compel Trump’s disclosure on the advice-of-counsel defense has drawn criticism. Lawyers and legal analysts have expressed concerns that this decision might contribute to the delay of the classified documents trial, which is scheduled to commence on May 20.

The proceedings in Florida could potentially change when a scheduling conference takes place on March 1, just days before Trump’s federal trial over allegations of obstruction and conspiracy relating to the 2020 election is set to begin.

Trump has long been accused of attempting to postpone both the federal classified documents trial and the election trial. If he were to win the 2024 election, he might have the power to influence the Department of Justice to drop the federal investigations once he assumes office in January 2025. Alternatively, he could potentially pardon himself as president if convicted before his term ends.

Due to the sensitive nature of the documents involved, many of which pertain to national security, Judge Cannon has implemented extensive security protocols, resulting in months-long delays in the trial.

Critics argue that Cannon’s refusal to enforce routine deadlines and apparent unwillingness to expedite the case may favor Trump’s interests. Concerns have been raised regarding the lack of progress toward the scheduled deadline.

This is not the first time Cannon has faced calls for recusal, as previous decisions have further fueled suspicions of bias in favor of the former president. Notably, she ruled that Trump would not have to testify under oath regarding his unfounded claim that the FBI may have planted evidence against him during a raid at his Mar-a-Lago resort in 2022. Another ruling allowed Trump to withhold information on which materials recovered from his Florida resort had been declassified before he left the White House. This claim, unsupported by official court filings from his lawyers, remains a subject of dispute.

In summary, Judge Cannon’s rejection of the motion to compel Trump’s disclosure and her failure to enforce routine deadlines have led to concerns that the trial may be delayed, potentially benefiting the former president. The court proceedings in Florida may have implications for the scheduled trial regarding the obstruction and conspiracy allegations concerning the 2020 election. With the Trump administration laced with controversies, questions surrounding potential bias have arisen regarding Cannon’s involvement in the case.