Report: Aileen Cannon’s Court Moves Slowly Due to Hesitant Confidence and Attention to Detail


Aileen Cannon, the judge appointed by Trump overseeing the case alleging the former president illegally retained classified documents, has shown a tendency to proceed slowly and appears confused at times during the public court hearings, according to a New York Times reporter present in the courtroom.

In the past 10 months, seven public court hearings have occurred, suggesting that the trial might not commence until after Election Day. If Donald Trump wins the presidency again, he could potentially dismiss the federal charges or pardon himself.

The delay in the trial is mainly due to Cannon permitting extensive hearings for every issue raised by Trump’s legal team.

Alan Feuer with the New York Times has attended several of these court hearings and notes that Cannon “rarely issues rulings that explain her thinking in a way that might reveal her legal influences or any guiding philosophy.” Feuer also describes Cannon as frequently confused by lawyers’ requests and statements, often asking them to repeat themselves multiple times.

With only four years on the bench, Cannon has limited experience in criminal cases. Even before being assigned the classified documents case last June, she ruled that the investigation into Trump would be halted until an independent arbiter reviewed the materials seized from Mar-a-Lago. However, an appeals court found Cannon’s ruling questionable and reversed it.

In a discussion with prosecutor Jay Bratt, Feuer observed that Cannon seemed to struggle with understanding a straightforward legal concept known as the Pinkerton rule, which Bratt clearly explained. This rule holds that all members of a conspiracy can be held responsible for any crimes committed by their co-conspirators. Bratt stated that this rule would apply to Trump’s associations with co-defendants Walt Nauta and Carlos De Oliveira.

Cannon queried what authority Bratt had to invoke the Pinkerton rule.

“So the authority is Pinkerton,” he replied.

Last week, Nauta’s lawyer, Stanley Woodward, requested that Cannon order prosecutors to provide him with internal communications that could show the case against him was motivated by revenge. Woodward claimed that, during a meeting at the Justice Department two years ago, Bratt threatened to interfere with a judgeship he was seeking unless he persuaded Nauta to cooperate against Trump.

Cannon asked for specifics about Woodward’s request, and he reiterated his need for any messages exchanged by prosecutors mentioning his name. The judge asked him to repeat himself “slowly.”

On Tuesday, Cannon denied a gag order request from special counsel Jack Smith, which aimed to prevent Trump from making public statements about the FBI’s conduct during its raid. Trump has claimed that the FBI used deadly force against him during the search at Mar-a-Lago two years ago.

Smith has the option to refile the request.

Since April, attorneys have warned that Cannon might face possible removal from the case, as Smith appears to have reached his “breaking point.”

Elaine Mallon
Elaine Mallon
Breaking news reporter.

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