Aileen Cannon Halts Stephen Miller's Request

aileen cannon halts stephen miller's request

Political advisor Stephen Miller speaks during the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) meeting on February 23, 2024, in National Harbor, Maryland.

Judge Aileen Cannon has denied Donald Trump adviser Stephen Miller and America First Legal's request to challenge a potential federal gag order against the ex-president in his Mar-a-Lago classified documents case.

According to court documents, Cannon signed a paperless order Saturday denying an amicus brief submitted to the Southern District of Florida by America First Legal (AFL), composed of people including Miller, Trump's former senior adviser and AFL president.

The brief, submitted Thursday, was also signed by former U.S. Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and aimed "to defend President Donald J. Trump's constitutionally protected right to free speech and prevent Special Counsel Jack Smith from obtaining an unlawful gag order."

Newsweek emailed the AFL's media contact Sunday night for comment.

The former president was indicted last June by Smith on 40 federal charges, alleging that he illegally retained classified documents after leaving the White House in 2021 and obstructed the government's efforts to retrieve them. Trump's indictment came after the FBI raided his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, in August 2022. The former president has pleaded not guilty and has said the case is politically motivated.

The AFL argued that barring Trump from speaking about a case that affects him personally and politically, as he is the presumptive Republican nominee for president, stifles the entire U.S. political system.

"The government offers no evidence of the type of extreme disruption that could meet the statutory standard for gagging a defendant before trial," the filing said. "It necessarily cannot meet the extremely high constitutional standard for prior restraints of President Trump's speech.

"The attempt to do so—months before President Trump stands for election against the President whose Attorney General appointed the special prosecutor—is especially troubling."

Cannon, who is presiding over the case and has been accused of being too favorable toward Trump and his legal counsel and harsher toward Smith, rejected a motion last week from 24 Republican attorneys general nationwide that sought to have the court avoid granting Smith a gag order against Trump.

Trump's legal team has also argued that U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland's appointment of Smith to prosecute the Mar-a-Lago case is invalid because Garland lacks the legal authority to appoint a special counsel who hasn't been approved by the Senate. Smith's team rebuked the argument, calling it "unsound." On Friday, the court began a hearing into Trump's motion.

The hearing continues Monday. Trump's lawyers and the DOJ will also discuss the limited gag order prosecutors have requested that would bar Trump from comments they fear could endanger FBI agents and law enforcement officials involved in the classified documents case.

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