So, there is a lot of bellyaching about Judge Cannon being assigned to Trump’s case about hiding classified documents. If she was assigned as most cases are by random computer assignment, then it si just bad luck. But, that is why we have trials. You have to prove your case. Innocent till proven guildty and all that, no matter how you feel about the defendant. First, the case seems rather strong. Often, the obstruction or lie is worse than the underlying misdeed. That certainly seems to be what Trump is facing up to here.
Why are lawyers concerned about the Judge? Well, while a jury will ultimately have its say and I would guess the odds are 75% or higher for conviction, Judges can exercise a lot of control over cases and evidence. These are things that are rarely aired in public. The stark examples are when a criminal is freed because evidence was improperly obtained by investigating officers. So, if a gun is seized improperly, then the judge decides the gun cannot come into evidence, then you have no case. Did the Judge make the ultimate ruling? Yes, but the investigators broke the law in the first place, so the judge was ultimately the check on the police.
Here though, Judge Cannon could slow walk the case meaning stretch the time frame out far beyond normal. Or, she could rule out certain pieces of evidence or she could grant motions to dismiss certain charges after a conviction. In light of her past decisions being reversed rapidly and scathingly, I would guess that she will play some role in making the case easier on Trump but Trump will still get convicted and sentenced to jail. Judge Cannon could depart downward and sentence him to no jail time, but that would be appealable. In general, I think that she will be a thorn in the prosecution’s side throughout the case, but may not be able to prevent conviction. Are there ways that she could thwart conviction? Yes, but in light of her past conduct, she is going to be on a short leash with the Court of Appeals that oversees her decisions.
The sentencing guidelines for convictions call for years of jail time, not months. We shall see how it turns out. Should be more than entertaining to watch.
Oh, and his co-defendant Valet guy, really really really should be taking a plea. He will be left holding the bag here and spend a lot of time in jail otherwise. File this under poor life decisions if he does not plead guilty and testify against Trump.