Judge Cannon will consider legal brief arguing Jack Smith has no legal authority

 April 1, 2024

The judge in Donald Trump's classified documents case will consider a legal brief arguing that prosecutor Jack Smith has no constitutional authority to prosecute the former president. 

The move from judge Aileen Cannon shows that she is at least open to arguments that Smith was inappropriately appointed by the Biden Justice Department.

Smith lacks constitutional authority

The 27-page brief from law professors Joshua Blackman and Seth Barret Tillmann argues that Smith is a mere "employee" who lacks the full-fledged prosecutorial power of a U.S. attorney.

Smith may continue prosecuting Trump "only under the normal supervision of the politically accountable United States attorney for the Southern District of Florida," the brief argues.

The court said, in response, "The amicus brief [410-1] is accepted for Court consideration. Should the Special Counsel or Defendants wish to file a separate response to the amicus brief, they may do so on or before April 4, 2024, in accordance with the Local Rules."

Similar claims have been brought by former Ronald Reagan attorney general Ed Meese, who compared Smith to the proverbial "emperor with no clothes" in a separate amicus brief.

"He wields tremendous power, answerable to no one. And that is a serious problem for the rule of law — whatever one may think of former President Donald Trump or the conduct Smith challenges in the underlying case.”

Smith's admission

In response, Smith called himself an "inferior officer" and admitted that he is answerable to Biden's attorney general, Merrick Garland.

Trump seized on Smith's response as an admission that he is coordinating with the White House on a political vendetta.

Smith and his backers have generally portrayed Smith as an independent actor beholden only to the rule of law.

"While Crooked Joe Biden and his Cronies have claimed from the outset they have nothing to do with Jack Smith's Election Interference case against me, Smith himself admitted in a Court Filing yesterday that he 'remains subject to Attorney General direction and supervision,' and that includes Biden," Trump wrote.

"That's right, Jack Smith just admitted what the American People already know, namely, that his case is being directed and supervised by the Biden Administration."

Judge Cannon's methodical approach to the complex case has already slowed things down, to the frustration of Smith and his liberal cheerleaders, who have blasted Cannon as little more than a Trump toady.

Smith's January 6th case is also facing major delays as the Supreme Court weighs whether Trump is constitutionally immune from charges.

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