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Threats against Trump judge come in as he handles documents case (Exclusive)

More than two dozen threats and other suspicious communications directed at Judge Aileen Cannon have come in since then. the federal jurist was assigned to Donald Trump’s classified documents criminal case in South Florida, The Messenger has learned.

Threats of varying severity have been recorded by deputies with the U.S. Marshals Service, the law enforcement agency that protects the federal judiciary and guards federal judges, a source with direct knowledge told The Messenger of the situation.

Threats to Cannon range from comments on social media sites like YouTube and Reddit to voicemails, emails and letters.

Some of the communications were dismissed as “veiled threats” or inappropriate comments on social media. But at least two were considered serious enough to be referred to the FBI for further investigation, the source said.

These included a thumb drive addressed to Cannon and mailed to a court office in West Palm Beach. The unit contained several conspiracy theories that were considered non-threatening.

An email to Cannon with a rambling statement about someone “killing justice” was also referred to the office for further investigation.

Other threats included a letter sent to Cannon’s home that had a suspicious return address, the source said, but was later deemed not to be a threat.

Posts on social networks

The marshal’s deputies have also flagged social media comments and other communications with language ranging from seemingly innocent to threatening, the source said.

“Hi, I just heard you’re Trump’s judge? Omg,” reads an email sent to Cannon and flagged by the marshal’s deputies.

“Cannon needs to remember the Second Amendment,” says a comment posted on YouTube that was flagged by the marshal’s deputies.

“You are under scrutiny… UR is being watched!” reads another marked email sent to Cannon.

Calls on social media to “dox” Cannon were also flagged, including a YouTube comment that said: “Someone needs to post their address and be judged for not!”

Judge Aileen Cannon
Judge Aileen CannonUnited States District Court

Cannon, a Trump appointee, has received harsh criticism since his involvement in the case began months before Trump was indicted. In September 2022, Cannon appointed a special master to review classified documents seized from Trump, delaying the investigation by special counsel Jack Smith.

Days later, a Texas woman was arrested and charged with three counts of making interstate threats for threatening Cannon in a series of voicemails left on her phone in courtrooms.

The FBI declined to comment, and the U.S. Marshals Service did not respond to a request for comment.

Judges on the front line

Cannon is no outlier in the federal judiciary. Threats and suspicious communications against federal judges are not uncommon, and have increased in recent years.

In 2022, the head of the Marshals Service said in a conference call with reporters that federal judges were the targets of 4,500 threats and inappropriate communications in the previous year.

“The increase in our judicial investigations … of threats and inappropriate comments has frankly increased over a couple of years,” director Ronald Davis said on the call, according to Reuters.

In 2020, a New Jersey attorney armed with a gun disguised himself as a deliveryman and rang the doorbell of a judge before whom he had argued a case.

When Judge Esther Salas’ son answered the door, attorney Roy Den Hollander shot and killed him and wounded Salas’ husband.

“Many judges have lost their lives to do one thing: their job, to defend democracy.” Salas said two years after the attack “Judges are really on the front lines making sure that democracy is, you know, alive and well in our country.”

Threat to freedom of expression?

Law enforcement tactics used to flag potential threats, including what’s known as open source intelligence, or “OSINT,” have drawn criticism from civil liberties activists, who argue it could limit freedom of expression

The open source collection includes monitoring social media and other online communications and investigating posts they determine may pose a risk.

“Police across the country at the federal, state and local levels are increasingly using open source intelligence tools (OSint) to scour social media and other content, looking for those they say pose a risk” , Albert Fox Cahn, defender of civil liberties. and attorney, he told The Messenger in an email.

“These tools are quite alarming, because they often work opaquely, without clear criteria for when and how someone is flagged as a threat,” he added. “While there are certainly times when the police can and should respond to real threats posted publicly online, I am concerned that too often this approach is biased and allows for large-scale profiling that can curb the freedom of “expression”.

Jack Smith, Donald Trump, Aileen Cannon
Special Counsel Jack Smith speaks to the press at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, DC, on June 9, 2023, announcing the unsealing of the indictment against former U.S. President Donald Trump. Trump was indicted on Friday on 37 charges in the Mar-a-Lago documents case after he illegally kept top-secret US nuclear files. […]MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images; Brandon Bell/Getty Images; United States District Court

Trump, who faces the possibility of another federal indictment in Washington, DC, is scheduled to go on trial before Cannon in the classified documents case in May 2024.

Trump has pleaded not guilty in the case and has repeatedly denounced special counsel Jack Smith, the federal prosecutor whose team indicted him in Florida, on social media.

In a post on his Truth Social platform, Trump suggested that Smith may have left cocaine in the White House, saying he “looks like a crackhead to me!”

A legal expert he previously told The Messenger that Trump would have broad First Amendment protection for insulting the appearance of a federal prosecutor.

“A defendant cannot engage in speech that violates a law because it is defamatory, incites violence, defames others, or obstructs justice, because no one can,” Bruce Green, a professor at Fordham Law School, previously said. in The Messenger.

“But if Mr. Trump wants to insult the prosecutor’s appearance, he almost certainly has a First Amendment right to do so, and the judge is unlikely to try to stop him,” he added.


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