DOJ was always going to appeal Judge Aileen Cannon’s order establishing a special master. It was such an aberrant, bizarre, and unworkable procedure that there was no chance that DOJ would let the precedent be established. But as a matter of timing, if Judge Dearie was moving quickly and assertively, DOJ likely felt better served by having Dearie just mow through the documents and tangential issues and then appeal later. But on Thursday, Judge Cannon signaled that she’s not going to let Dearie do the job that she theoretically asked him to do. With two years of experience and grossly unqualified from the start, Judge Cannon overruled a Reagan-appointed judge who is esteemed by the NYC Bar. She even lengthened the timeline. So it was that late Friday, DOJ filed an expedited appeal of Cannon’s special master ruling. They need this case out of Cannon’s hands as soon as possible. This appeal could do it.
The Justice Department moved to quickly dismantle the independent review of documents seized from Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, contending that the review — ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon — is impeding its criminal investigation.
In a 15-page filing asking a federal appeals court to speed its consideration of the issue, prosecutors complained the “special master” review prevents DOJ from accessing thousands of non-classified records recovered from the former president’s estate.
And from the appeal itself:
“The government is … unable to examine records that were commingled with materials bearing classification markings, including records that may shed light on, for example, how the materials bearing classification markings were transferred to Plaintiff’s residence, how they were stored, and who may have accessed them,” DOJ officials, including counterintelligence chief Jay Bratt, wrote in the filing with the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. “The records not marked as classified may also constitute evidence of potential [obstruction] and [concealment or removal of government records].
It should also be noted that the first issue on appeal is whether Cannon even had jurisdiction to accept the motion, something this site has repeatedly questioned, given that the “case” (No charges have been filed) was already in front of U.S. Magistrate Bruce Reinhart whose chambers are actually in West Palm Beach, not 60 miles north at Fort Pierce. One senses that the DOJ really wants to win on this first issue, whether Cannon even had the legal authority to act on the motion. One can bet that it’s likely that the 11th Circuit is sick of being utterly humiliated by Cannon, and the best way to end all of this is to rule that she had no authority to take this case and dismiss it entirely.
Regardless, given the speed with which the 11th Circuit acted before, it’s likely they’re ready to go. DOJ proposed a schedule that goes six weeks. Perhaps the 11th Circuit believes it can do even better.
@JasonMiciak believes a day without learning is a day not lived. He is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is a Canadian-born dual citizen who spent his teen and college years in the Pacific Northwest and has since lived in seven states. He now enjoys life as a single dad of a young girl, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast. He loves crafting his flower pots, cooking, and currently studies philosophy of science, religion, and non-math principles behind quantum mechanics and cosmology. Please feel free to contact for speaking engagements or any concerns.