Federal Judge Puts Damper on Jack Smith Previous Win

By Jerry McConway, updated on February 8, 2024

In all of the federal cases that Donald Trump is currently facing, there is only one judge in the lot that could be deemed “friendly,” and that would be Judge Aileen Cannon, who Donald Trump appointed to the bench.

Well, Cannon just dealt Special Counsel Jack Smith a bit of a setback in the classified documents case.

Talking Points…
- Smith gets an immunity win
- Cannon deals setback to Smith
- Analysis

Smith Gets Win in Immunity Case

Democrats and Special Counsel Jack Smith were all smiles on Tuesday after the ruling came down from the appeals court in Trump’s immunity motion. As did the lower court, the appeals court ruled that Trump does not have absolute immunity for acts committed as the president.

Donald Trump has always maintained that he was fighting the election results as a president looking out for the integrity of our elections, not as a candidate. This is the key aspect of the entire argument because presidential immunity only covers acts that would fall under the normal course of duties of the president. Donald Trump is not appealing the case to the Supreme Court.

Cannon Deals Setback to Smith

The celebration did not last long for Smith, as Judge Cannon also released a ruling some of the discovery evidence that Smith wanted to keep sealed must be unsealed and disclosed. She ruled:

“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.

“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.”

Smith had been hoping to keep the names of some of his witnesses under seal for fear of them being attacked by Trump or his surrogates once their names were revealed.

The ruling continued:

“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 motion for leave shall be filed publicly except in clear and supported cases of risk to personal safety or national security.”

Analysis

Jack Smith’s reasoning for wanting to keep these names sealed is surely based on the past behavior of Trump and his surrogates during the E. Jean Carroll and New York fraud cases. Trump went on Truth Social almost daily to call out witnesses, attorneys, court members, and judges.

In both cases, online threats were made against these individuals after Trump posted about them, especially in the case of Judge Engoron in the fraud case, whom Trump has been attacking relentlessly since the case started.

Trump will not be doing himself any favors in this case if he or his supporters start attacking these witnesses, as he would likely get hit with another gag order if that starts to happen. Trump needs to limit his response to the facts at hand and stop the rhetoric, or he will be doomed to another court loss, even with a judge he appointed on the bench.

About Jerry McConway

Jerry McConway is an independent political author and investigator who lives in Dallas, Texas. He has spent years building a strong following of readers who know that he will write what he believes is true, even if it means criticizing politicians his followers support. His readers have come to expect his integrity.

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