More questions were asked of Judge Aileen Cannon’s fitness to preside over Donald Trump’s high-profile classified documents case on Monday after the South Florida federal judge rejected special counsel Jack Smith’s bid to preserve “grand jury secrecy” through sealed filings.
In her ruling, Cannon questioned the “legal propriety” of Smith using an “out-of-district grand jury to continue to investigate and/or to seek post-indictment hearings.” She demanded that Smith explain why prosecutors are doing this by Aug. 22.
In a separate blow to Smith, Cannon also removed two filings by prosecutors—about defense attorney Stanley Woodward’s potential conflicts of interest—from the record entirely.
While much of the Mar-a-Lago docs case is being handled out of Cannon’s South Florida district, a portion of the grand jury work ahead of Trump’s indictment was done by a D.C. grand jury, which Cannon appeared perplexed by.
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance wrote online Monday that Cannon’s latest order “may tee up the issue of her fitness on this case.” Andrew Weissmann, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, suggested the same—writing that Cannon’s order is “off base.”
“Judge Cannon clearly shows her ignorance (bias? both?); the obstruction crimes that were investigated are charges that could have been brought in [Florida] or in DC and thus could be investigated in either district,” he wrote on Twitter. “And there was conduct that is alleged to have occurred outside [Florida].”