Jack Smith’s ‘Clean Hands’ Could Help Remove Aileen Cannon: Attorney  


Special counsel Jack Smith’s “clean” record could help remove Judge Aileen Cannon from the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case against former President Donald Trump, a legal expert has said.

On Tuesday February 6, Cannon rejected special counsel Smith’s bid to keep the identities of government witnesses secret in the ongoing case involving the former president. Smith later wrote, in a court filing asking her to reconsider the decision, that the judge had made a “clear error” that could expose many potential witnesses to threats.

Cannon, a Republican, was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida by Trump during his presidency. She is overseeing the case in which Trump has been charged with 40 federal charges over allegations he retained classified papers after leaving the White House and subsequently obstructed efforts to have them returned. He has entered a not guilty plea and has denied all allegations against him.

Special counsel Jack Smith delivers remarks on an unsealed indictment including four felony counts against former U.S. President Donald Trump on August 1, 2023 in Washington, DC. Smith recently said the judge in the classified…


Writing in her newsletter “Civil Discourse with Joyce Vance,” the former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama said the ruling by Cannon could actually play in favor of Smith and U.S. government. Newsweek has contacted the Department of Justice via the contact form on its website.

Vance, who was nominated to become U.S. attorney by then President Barack Obama, argues that Smith’s good faith approach to Cannon’s rulings may help him in the long run should a higher court seek to remove her from the case. “[T]he government is showing its efforts to comply with the Judge’s orders in good faith. That record of ‘clean hands’ will prove helpful to the government if the case ends up before the 11th Circuit and would strengthen the case for removing Judge Cannon if her rulings on matters this week continue to be off base,” Vance wrote.

Vance wrote that despite the ruling in his favor, the provision of witness names to the defense is not a “clean win” for Trump. “Any use he makes of the information would be highly problematic for him,” she wrote. “So, the government has some small comfort in this situation.”

Legal experts have criticized Cannon’s decision to unseal the identities of potential witnesses. “It’s really one after another, and the way she’s handled this case shows her clear bias for Trump and the defense,” former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani told Business Insider.

“Obviously Trump appointed her, but he couldn’t have gotten a better draw. Really at every stage of the proceedings so far, she’s allowed Trump to delay—so there’s almost no chance that that trial is going to happen before the November election. And of course, if Trump is elected and he regains control of the White House, the prosecution goes away.”

MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin wrote on X, formerly Twitter: “If information about an ongoing federal investigation into threats to a prosecution witness is not worthy of an ex parte, under seal filing, I don’t know what is.”