Aileen Cannon Trashed By Lawyers: ‘Out of Her League’

Florida Judge Aileen Cannon has come under fire from a number of legal experts after delaying the start of Donald Trump’s classified documents trial, with one lawyer labeling her “intellectually out of her league” on social media.

On Tuesday Cannon indefinitely postponed the trial, which had been due to start on May 20, citing legal disputes around classified evidence. Cannon said there were eight outstanding substantive pending motions for her to rule on and predicted this will take until at least late July. She didn’t set a new court trial date meaning it is unclear whether the case will get underway before the November 2024 presidential election.

Trump is facing 40 federal charges over claims he improperly held onto classified documents after leaving the White House in January 2021 and then obstructed attempts to get them returned to the relevant authorities. He has pled not guilty and claimed the charges against him, along with those in three separate criminal trials, are politically motivated.

On X, formerly Twitter, a number of legal experts hit out at Cannon’s decision.

Asha Rangappa, a lawyer and former FBI agent with over 831,000 X followers, wrote: “I think that Judge Cannon is intellectually out of her league and is having some weird analysis paralysis because her personal partisanship makes her place Trump’s bizarre arguments (like that nuclear secrets are his personal records) on par with [special counsel Jack] Smith’s *actual* legal arguments.

“She’s afraid of making any mistake, lest Smith have a basis to appeal and perhaps get her removed, and so in this lost, ineffective, and paranoid state, the best she can hope for is that Trump gets elected and the case just goes away. So that’s her play.”

Joyce Alene, a lawyer and former U.S. district attorney, commented: “This is news but it’s hardly unexpected. Judge Cannon seems desperate to avoid trying this case. This isn’t justice. defendants aren’t the only ones with speedy trial act rights, we the people have them too.”

In another X post Robert Reich, a lawyer who served as U.S. Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton, claimed Trump will “never face trial” in the case if elected for a second White House term in November.

He wrote: “Four facts: 1. If Trump stole nat’l secrets, he must face justice.

“2. Thanks to Judge Cannon, it now seems impossible for a trial to happen before the election. 3. If he’s reelected, he will never face trial. 4. Therefore, Trump must be defeated as a matter of nat’l [national] security.”

Author and Daily Beast columnist David Rothkopf suggested Smith needed to “remedy” the “problem” he believes Cannon has become, in a possible hints at calls for the special counsel to try and get her removed from the case.

He commented: “Justice delayed is justice denied. Both the defendant and the public have the right to a trial “without unnecessary delay.” (Sixth Amendment.) When does Jack Smith seek a remedy for the problem Judge Cannon clearly represents? Tick freaking tock.”

Florida Judge Aileen Cannon
Judge Aileen Cannon of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Cannon has been attacked by some legal experts after indefinitely postponing Donald Trump’s classified documents trial.


However, speaking to Newsweek in April, attorney Neama Rahmani, president of the West Coast Trial Lawyers law firm, said it is unlikely Cannon could be removed from the case.

“Cannon seems in over her head and not ready for a case of this magnitude. It’s still unlikely that she will be removed from the case, however,” he said.

“Being reversed on appeal isn’t enough, even if she is reversed multiple times. Smith would have to prove Cannon is partial and reassignment is necessary. That’s not an easy legal standard to meet.”

Newsweek contacted the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, where Judge Cannon works, by telephone and voicemail message outside of usual office hours on Wednesday. This article will be updated if she decides to comment.

Trump is currently on trial in Manhattan in a separate case over claims he falsified business records to cover up the payment of hush money to Stormy Daniels, a former pornographic actress, ahead of the 2016 presidential election. He has pled not guilty to all charges and denies Daniels’ claim that they had an affair in 2006.