Judge Aileen Cannon oversaw the Department of Justice’s recent victory in the DC appellate court, a decision that had been widely expected. On Tuesday, she granted a partial approval to Trump’s request for the disclosure of certain discovery documents, going against Jack Smith’s preference for keeping them secret.
At the same time, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected Trump’s attempt to dismiss his federal election interference case, stating that presidential immunity does not apply.
In Florida, Judge Cannon played a crucial role in deciding to make specific discovery materials public, despite Smith’s desire to keep them hidden. She emphasized the importance of the “robust presumption of public access in criminal proceedings.”
“Following an independent review of the motion and the full record, the Court determines, with limited exceptions as detailed below, that the Special Counsel has not set forth a sufficient factual or legal basis warranting deviation from the strong presumption in favor of public access to the records at issue,” wrote Cannon.
Cannon, a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida, was nominated by Trump and received approval from the Senate for his appointment. In 2020, she took the oath and officially became a judge. Smith’s primary goal was to protect sensitive information that could expose the identities or personal details of potential witnesses, as well as to address any concerns regarding witness safety and intimidation.
“Although substantiated witness safety and intimidation concerns can form a valid basis for overriding the strong presumption in favor of public access, the Special Counsel’s sparse and undifferentiated response fails to provide the Court with the necessary factual basis to justify sealing,” she documented.
“Notwithstanding the conventional filing procedure outlined in Local Rule 5.4(c), there shall be no filing under seal of any unclassified material in this case unless the party seeking to make a filing under full or partial seal first has sought and obtained permission from the Court through a motion for leave to file under seal,” the ruling maintained.
“The motion for leave shall be filed publicly except in clear and supported cases of risk to personal safety or national security.”