Judge In Trump Documents Case Erred In Trial
The judge in former US President Donald Trump's trial over classified documents made two key errors in a June trial, one of which violated a constitutional right of the defendant and could have invalidated the proceedings, according to legal experts and a court transcript, Sarah N. Lynch and Jacqueline Thomsen reported for Reuters.
Photo Insert: Cannon's decision to close the courtroom represents "a fundamental constitutional error."
Florida-based US District Judge Aileen Cannon closed jury selection for the trial of an Alabama man - accused by federal prosecutors of running a website with images of child sex abuse - to the defendant's family and the general public, a trial transcript obtained by Reuters showed.
A defendant's right to a public trial is enshrined in the US Constitution's Sixth Amendment.
Cannon, a 42-year-old former prosecutor appointed by Trump to the bench in 2020, also neglected to swear in the jury pool - an obligatory procedure in which people who may serve on the panel pledge to tell the truth during the selection process.
This error forced Cannon to restart jury selection before the trial ended abruptly as defendant William Spearman pleaded guilty as part of an agreement with prosecutors.
Cannon's decision to close the courtroom represents "a fundamental constitutional error," said Stephen Smith, a professor at the Santa Clara School of Law in California. "She ignored the public trial right entirely. It's as though she didn't know it existed."