This is no joke. Personally, I’m ambivalent about putting live trials on television. The media likes to argue that putting cameras in courtrooms opens the courtroom to the world. But to me this is cheap bullsh*t designed to chase cheap ratings. And as that idiot Kato Kaelin and the moron judge Lance Ito showed in the OJ Simpson trial, cameras in the courtroom tend to warn participants into actors. But at the same time, there are specific cases in which it is beneficial for the American public to actually see what is going on in a courtroom, and to determine for themselves whether or not justice is actually being served.
As it stands now, both live cameras as well as video recording equipment are barred from federal courtrooms. Full Stop. Hell, the wonderful Rachel Maddow has even made a minor career of waiting for the daily release of the typed transcript from the day’s hearing of national interest, then reading great chunks of pertinent testimony and arguments over the air that night.
But as with so many things in life, there are no absolutes. In the last half hour on MSNBC, Ayman Mohyeldin had esteemed constitutional law professor Lawrence Tribe on. And Tribe said something that got my whiskers twitching. Tribe related that there is actually a rule in the federal judicial guidelines that allows a chief judge in a district to declare a waiver on the media ban if it assures the public of transparency, and confidence in the outcome of the trial.
And Lawrence Tribe was as persuasive as hell. He explained that in her handling of the Special Master kerfuffle, not only did judge Cannon overstep her judicial bounds, she also violated the rules of transparency. How many times have you watched a cable news program, and had them cut to a reporter standing outside a federal court to give an update on the days proceedings up until that point?
Judge Cannon violated that ethic. She didn’t want anybody knowing what she was doing, and so she basically sealed the courtroom for hearings on the Special Master issue, making the media wait for the daily transcript. Why? This wasn’t the Trump documents case, there were no national security secrets being openly discussed in there. Why would she seal the courtroom? Because she didn’t want anybody to know what she was doing until it was too late to do anything about it. Cannon already knows that she’s an unfit judge to preside over this case.
Tribe was emphatic. By her own actions and decisions, slapped down by the 11th Circuit Appellate court not once, but twice, Cannon has already cast serious doubt on her integrity and fairness. The simplest remedy for all concerned would be for Cannon to conduct the arraignment, then use whatever cheesy excuse she chose to recuse herself from the case and hand it off to another judge. This is unlikely, given Cannon’s ego and temperament.
It would be risky for Jack Smith or his team to request that the recuse herself. This would dent her judicial dignity, and set them up for bad rulings on the evidence down the road. They could appeal to the 11th Circuit, or the chief judge to remove her, but if that failed, they would be assuring themselves of sh*tty rulings down the road.
Which brings us to the one cudgel that Tribe states that the chief judge can hold over Cannon’s head. The chief judge already knows that she’s a loose cannon, and guaranteed he doesn’t want his district court held up to national humiliation again. He can now offer Cannon a simple choice. Either do the right thing and recuse from the case, or he’ll sign the waiver and have every hearing, as well as the trial nationally televised. Even if she refuses, it plants the seeds in her head to play straight, or look like a craven tool. Not a good position to be in.
And let’s not forget one more thing before we go. Cannon’s mentor, as well as lord and master is Traitor Tot. And right now Traitor Tot is running for his life for President to remain not guilty and incarcerated. And by this time, his lawyers have almost certainly convinced Trump of the dire straits he’s in. The last thing The Cheeto Prophet needs is to have all of that damaging evidence and testimony coming in at trial, and being broadcast to the entire nation. This is getting interesting.