Jack Smith preparing legal kill shot for Aileen Cannon in Trump documents case, experts say (2024)

When former President Trump falsely claimed in a fundraising email on Wednesday that President Biden was “locked & loaded and ready to take me out,” special counsel Jack Smith moved swiftly.

Smith on Friday asked federal judge Aileen Cannon for a gag order, insisting that Trump’s reckless comments not only could spur violence against the FBI, but also violated Trump’s terms of release after his indictment.

Trump is charged with taking classified national defense documents from the White House after he left office and resisting the government’s attempts to retrieve the materials.

Legal experts say Smith is trying to box in Cannon — who has slow-walked the case and protected Trump from a trial before the November election.

Smith likely believes Cannon will deny the gag order, in which case Smith will petition the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to have her removed from the case, legal experts predicted.

In two previous instances in the case, Cannon has been rebuked by the 11th Circuit, and experts believe this could be strike three. Former White House attorney Ty Cobb has predicted previously that the 11th Circuit “will likely take her off the case” eventually.

Former prosecutor Andrew Weissman, who led the Mueller investigation into Trump, tweeted: “Smart move by Smith as Judge Cannon won’t be likely to grant the gag order, will show her patent bias, and Smith can then appeal to the 11th Circuit.”


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Lisa Rubin, an attorney and MSNBC legal correspondent tweeted only “Same,” when she was asked where she stood on Weissman’s take. She argued that the motion is “not a request for a gag order. It’s a request to modify his conditions of release, which is immediately appealable ...”

Attorney George Conway — a Never Trumper who was married to Trump mouthpiece Kellyanne Conway and who served as a lawyer to prominent Republicans — told CNN that Cannon has been “dragging her feet on this case, and if she does not do something about this, I think the special counsel may use this as the opportunity to try to get the 11th circuit to get rid of her.

“So she’s really on the spot here,” Conway added. “Will she do something? I don’t know. But she had better because this is just this is just completely outrageous. I mean, it is really an attempt to incite violence against government agents based on the complete pathological lie. ... Words cannot describe that level of depravity.”

Trump’s comments center on a policy statement prepared by law enforcement that lays out protocol for any search. The statement — standard operating procedure to protect agents — allows deadly force “only when necessary,” such as when someone “poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to another person.”

Trump’s email claims that Biden or the Justice Department “was authorized to shoot” him. Email recipients were asked to donate anywhere from $20.24 to more than $3,000 to his campaign.

Attorney General Merrick Garland called Trump’s assertion “false” and “extremely dangerous,” and noted that the same paperwork was included in the FBI’s search of Biden’s home for classified documents.

“Trump’s repeated mischaracterization as an attempt to kill him, his family, and Secret Service agents has endangered law enforcement officers involved in the investigation and prosecution of this case and threatened the integrity of these proceedings,” prosecutors wrote.

His recent comments, they added, “invite the sort of threats and harassment that have occurred when other participants in legal proceedings against Trump have been targeted by his invective.”

Despite Trump’s claims, the FBI made sure he was not home when it conducted its Aug. 8, 2022, search of his Florida estate. Agents wore polo shirts and khakis in order to draw less attention while at the club.

Of course, the Trump hyposcrisy here is rich: While he is arguing to the Supreme Court that a president should be legally allowed to assassinate his political opponents, he finds appalling (while wrongly asserting) that the current president wanted to do that to him.


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Jack Smith preparing legal kill shot for Aileen Cannon in Trump documents case, experts say (2024)


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