South Florida Federal Judge Aileen Cannon, whose controversial rulings on behalf of former president Donald Trump temporarily blocked the Department of Justice from evidence seized during the search of his Mar-a-Lago home has officially tossed the civil lawsuit Trump had used to thwart the criminal investigation into his conduct.
In a one-page ruling filed Monday, the Trump-appointed judge ordered the matter closed — 11 days after a three-judge appeals panel ruled Cannon had erred in ordering a special master to scrutinize classified documents seized by FBI agents from Trump’s residence on August 8.
The ruling is the latest blow to the former president’s multi-pronged but largely unsuccessful effort to slow down or end the probe, which he claims is a political witchhunt.
Cannon’s decision to appoint a special master had slowed the pace of the probe into whether Trump, 76, violated federal law governing the retention of sensitive records by removing presidential papers and other documents to Mar-a-Lago when he left the White House in January 2021.
As part of her order, Cannon told the DOJ to stop using the seized documents as part of its investigation into Trump until the special master could complete his review.
However, the appeals court judges found that Cannon’s order was a “needless judicial intrusion” into the case.
“It is indeed extraordinary for a warrant to be executed at the home of a former president — but not in a way that affects our legal analysis or otherwise gives the judiciary license to interfere in an ongoing investigation,” the panel found.
The judges also ruled that creating a “special exception” for Trump “would defy our Nation’s foundational principle that our law applies ‘to all, without regard to numbers, wealth, or rank.’”
The development comes as the January 6 select committee prepares to release its final report next week, with Congressman Adam Schiff confirming that he and his colleagues on the panel are in agreement that they have “evidence of Trump’s criminality.”