Aileen Cannon Threatens To Sanction MAL Prosecutors

INSIDE: Donald Trump ... Joe Biden ... Pope Francis
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A lot of things happened. Here are some of the things. This is TPM’s Morning Memo. Sign up for the email version.

Welp …

In the up-is-down world of the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case, prosecutors attempted to stanch Donald Trump’s vitriolic attacks on federal law enforcement – the kind of thing criminal defendants would not typically be allowed to engage in while on pre-trial release – and wound up themselves threatened with sanctions by the judge.

As Morning Memo recounted yesterday, the move by prosecutors to modify the terms of Trump’s pre-trial release came late Friday before the Memorial Day weekend and prompted a heated response from Trump.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon weighed in Monday, denying the prosecution motion, chastising them for playing loose with the local court rules, and threatening to impose sanctions on them in the future. One small bright spot, if you can call it that, is that she didn’t accede to Trump’s request to sanction the prosecution team immediately. Cannon’s denial was without prejudice, meaning prosecutors can refile their motion:

Cannon insisted that prosecutors had not sufficiently conferred with the defense team before filing and ordered that all future filings contain a statement of no more than 200 words by the opposing side of its position.

In a normal case, I’d applaud a judge keeping a tight leash on the prosecution team. But we’re in such uncharted territory here that you can’t attribute this to i-dotting or t-crossing by Cannon. Given any chance to chide the prosecution, she takes it. Given deplorable behavior by Trump that would normally never fly, she finds herself mute again and again.

The judge’s routine has become so predictable that even the analysis by legal observers bakes in a certain Cannon quotient: Anything that DOJ does that even arguably deviates from the rules leaves an opening that Cannon will take. So DOJ ends up graded on a weird Cannon curve while Trump’s dangerous and unprecedented conduct gets set to the side.

One pattern emerging with Cannon is that when prosecutors implore her to assert herself and take more control over the case like so many judges do, she retreats to treating everything as an adversarial contest that she merely referees. But when it’s a matter of importance to Trump, she regularly asserts herself, going so far as to raise issues on her own. It’s another way her handling of the case is imbalanced to Trump’s advantage.

The Hush Money Jury Finally Gets The Case!

With closing arguments in the hush money trial complete, we’re expecting the judge to spend about an hour instructing the jury on its duties before turning the case over to them to deliberate.

Let me caution again that predicting jury verdicts is not just a dangerous game, it’s damn near impossible. I would even go so far as to say that the rule of law has been honored here regardless of the verdict. The case was well tried, Trump had his day in court, his misdeeds weren’t swept under the carpet, and that all remains true regardless of how the jury comes down.

In oder to set your expectations a bit, I would say the most likely outcomes in descending order are: conviction -> hung jury -> acquittal. But a mix of outcomes – conviction on some but not all counts, hung jury on some counts, even acquittal on some counts – is defintely in play. Acquittal on all charges is I think very unlikely.

After a late night and early morning turnaround, TPM’s Josh Kovenky is back at it this morning. Follow his liveblog here.

The Alitos Are Quite A Pair

The NYT’s Jodi Kantor digs deeper into the neighborhood dispute that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito claims led his wife to fly the American flag upside down back in January 2021, sometime between the Capitol attack and Joe Biden’s inauguration.

What’s most striking is the sheer pettiness of the Alitos, but the one factual reveal is that the key confrontation that Alito said prompted his wife to raise the distress signal actually came after the flag at the Alitos was already taken down.

Not that it matters that much? Alito’s explanation never made sense. On what planet does your neighbor protesting a coup attempt require you to trot out pro-coup symbols? What else could it possibly mean?

A Sign Of Things To Come …

AJC: “A Republican member of the Fulton County elections board refuses to certify primary election results unless given access to detailed voting data, a move that Democrats worry could jeopardize certification of November’s general election results.”

DNC Comes Up With An Ohio Fix For Biden

The DNC will hold a virtual roll call of delegates to make Joe Biden its presidential nominee and beat the deadline to get Joe Biden on the Ohio ballot, resolving a mundane calendar issue that had bedeviled Democrats and the state’s GOP governor, who favored resolving the matter.

2024 Ephemera

  • Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX), a more moderate Republican by today’s standard, barely fended off a primary challenge from far-right candidate Brandon Herrera, winning by about 400 votes.
  • WSJ: Democrats Plan $100 Million Push on Abortion Rights to Win House
  • Ron Brownstein: The unusual turnout dynamic that could decide the 2024 election

Abortion Watch

  • NYT: The Untold Story of the Network That Took Down Roe v. Wade
  • Politico: Trump says he won’t ‘ban’ birth control. Here’s what he may do instead
  • NPR: Here’s where voters will decide abortion at the ballot box in November

Infallibility Is Hard

Pope Francis apologies for using gay slur in closed-door meeting with Italian bishops. `

Peering Into The Beyond

The European Space Agency last week released five new images from the Euclid space telescope, among them this unprecedented shot:

Messier 78
This breathtaking image features Messier 78 (the central and brightest region), a vibrant nursery of star formation enveloped in a shroud of interstellar dust. Messier 78 lies 1,300 light-years away in the constellation of Orion. Credit: ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA, image processing by J.-C. Cuillandre (CEA Paris-Saclay), G. Anselmi

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Notable Replies

  1. This judge is an idiot. How on earth does she think anyone can confer enough? From Trump’s point of view conferring means agreeing with. Cannon should be gone… she is an embarrassment to the US and more importantly to Leonard Leo and his Republican cabal.

  2. Say what you like about Aileen Cannon - whoever paid for her sure is gettin’ their money’s worth.

  3. And yet she’s getting away with it. What can anybody do except observe the wake of wreckage she leaves? Say what you will, her ploy is working.

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