Judge Altonaga Allegedly Pressured Judge Cannon To Withdraw From Trump Case

Two federal District Court judges reportedly attempted to pressure Judge Aileen Cannon to step aside from the high-profile classified documents case involving former President Donald J. Trump. According to sources familiar with the matter, one of the judges involved was Cecilia M. Altonaga, chief judge of the Southern District of Florida, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush.

The New York Times reported that the initial effort began when an unidentified District Court judge contacted Judge Cannon regarding concerns about the security of classified documents, given that her Fort Pierce courthouse initially lacked a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF). This facility is essential for handling classified materials. Subsequently, the courthouse was outfitted with the required secure space.

The situation escalated when Judge Altonaga personally called Judge Cannon, reportedly suggesting that her continued oversight of the case would be detrimental to the court’s image. Altonaga highlighted Cannon’s previous intervention in the investigation and her appointment of a special master to review the documents, actions that she deemed problematic.

Judge Altonaga’s husband, George Mencio, is known for his extensive contributions to the Bush family’s political campaigns, suggesting a potential alignment with the Republican establishment, which has often been critical of Trump.

These revelations lend support to Trump’s claims of judicial interference in the case, which is being prosecuted by Biden DOJ special counsel Jack Smith. Judge Cannon has been openly critical of Smith’s aggressive tactics, accusing him of ethically and legally questionable behavior. In a notable move in May, Judge Cannon suspended the trial date indefinitely after Smith admitted that some classified materials may have been mishandled and tampered with.

The reported pressure on Judge Cannon raises significant concerns about judicial independence and the integrity of the legal proceedings against the former president. This development underscores the intense political and legal battles that continue to surround Trump’s post-presidential legal challenges.

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