Judge Cannon gifts Trump another two weeks to come up with an argument against a gag order

Special counsel Jack Smith wants to curb Trump claims he says endanger the FBI agents that searched Mar-a-Lago

Published June 3, 2024 1:53PM (EDT)

Donald Trump and Aileen Cannon (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images/US District Court for the Southern District of Florida)
Donald Trump and Aileen Cannon (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images/US District Court for the Southern District of Florida)

Judge Aileen Cannon has received flak for her plodding pace in the lead up to Donald Trump's classified documents trial, but that has not stopped her from granting the former president's lawyers another two weeks to prepare an argument against special counsel Jack Smith's request for a gag order.

Smith filed his own motion on May 24, arguing that Trump's false claims that President Joe Biden ordered the FBI officers who searched his home to use deadly force amounted to a "dangerous campaign to smear law enforcement."

Despite the FBI clarifying that the agents followed the same standard protocol they used while searching Biden's house in Delaware, Trump's Republican allies parroted his statements in often inflammatory language.

"The Biden DOJ and FBI were planning to assassinate Pres Trump and gave the green light," tweeted Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. "I made sure that he knew."

Cannon has now ordered the Trump defense team to file a response to Smith's request for a gag order by June 14, a date that marks roughly a year since she was selected to hear the case.

"Clearly, Judge Cannon doesn’t seem to be worried about the safety of the law enforcement officers that have targets on their backs courtesy of Donald Trump’s spreading of lies about the MAL search warrant," tweeted lawyer and MSNBC host Katie Phang.

The Trump-appointed judge has been criticized for indulging nearly every request Trump's lawyers have made, no matter how far-fetched, and procrastinating on decisions for months. So daunting was the backlog of unresolved legal issues that, four weeks ago, Cannon postponed the trial indefinitely.

In doing so, Cannon has given Trump what he wanted: a delay of the trial until after Election Day. If he wins in November, the former president could have the case thrown out.

In his New York trial, where he was last week convicted of 34 felonies, the former president was blocked by a court-imposed gag order from attacking jurors, witnesses, and the judge's family. Trump violated the order no fewer than 10 times, prompting him to increasingly rely on surrogates to express his thoughts out loud.

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