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On Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Eleventh Circuit struck a catastrophic blow to former President Donald Trump, completely ending the special master review of the documents seized by FBI agents in the search of Mar-a-Lago for classified material.
The ruling is a complete repudiation of Trump-appointed District Judge Aileen Cannon, who ordered the review in the first place, said Palm Beach County Attorney Dave Aronberg on MSNBC's "The Beat."
"For folks just catching the news and your view of it, given there was so much back and forth, tell us in plain English what this ruling means to you," said anchor Ari Melber.
"This is a smackdown," said Aronberg. "It says that Judge Cannon should never have exercised jurisdiction over this matter. Remember, Judge Cannon is in a county, two counties away, 68 miles from West Palm Beach. She inserted herself into this case when it was in the hands of Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhardt. That's what Trump's team wanted. She took jurisdiction and then she gave them everything they wanted including a special master, including a stay of the proceedings and the appellate court said no, no, no. You have no jurisdiction here. You should not have appointed the special master. You should not have delayed the investigation because this sets a bad precedent, and Donald Trump doesn't get special privileges because he's a former president."
The consequence of the ruling, added Aronberg, is that "Donald Trump is going to go through some things" and "this case is game on."
"I think what this [ruling] does is it speeds up the charges," said Aronberg. "I have felt that Trump will be indicted for the documents matter; now that this is out of the way, that's one more obstacle gone. I think charges will be coming at some point after the [Georgia Senate] runoff."
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Dave Aronberg says Aileen Cannon "inserted herself" into Mar-a-Lago case www.youtube.com
Earlier Thursday, Pima County Superior Court Judge Casey McGinley ordered the supervisors to meet at 3:30 p.m. to certify the canvass of their county’s midterm election results after they failed to do so by the Nov. 28 deadline. Missing that deadline prompted Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and an advocacy group to file separate lawsuits to force the county to certify the election.
McGinely told the board, who was not represented by an attorney after the county attorney refused to defend the supervisors, that in missing the deadline it had “exceeded its lawful authority.”
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Republican Supervisor Peggy Judd said at the emergency board meeting that she couldn’t bring herself to make the motion to certify the election results herself, but voted in favor of it when Chairwoman Ann English made the motion. During previous meetings, Judd and Tom Crosby, who refused to attend the canvass, both voted to delay election certification.
The pair had previously said they refused to certify the election results based on the false belief that the electronic tabulators the county uses have not been certified under state and federal law.
But Crosby acknowledged in court on Thursday that wasn’t true, telling the judge that the supervisors had only failed to certify the election results by the deadline because the certification hadn’t been properly put on the agenda for the Nov. 28 board meeting and that the supervisors fully intended to certify the results during a meeting set for Friday morning.
That explanation was different than what Judd told national media outlets this week. She told both the New York Times and the Daily Beast that the delay in certifying the election — past the statutory deadline — was a form of protest against Election Day problems that happened in Maricopa County.
Judd remained defiant Thursday afternoon, even as she voted to canvass the election.
“I can’t say enough about how important this effort is that we made and I am not ashamed of anything that I did,” Judd said.
Judd added that she felt she must vote to certify the election because of the court order, saying she believes in the rule of law, and because of the impact of some health issues she’s been experiencing.
“I know I’m going to disappoint a lot of people and I’m going to make a lot of people happy,” Judd said.
I think it’s a circus that doesn’t need to have to happen. I’ve had enough. I think the public has had enough.
– Cochise County Supervisor Ann English
English said she was glad the county had given a voice to those with concerns about the midterm election, but advised those with gripes about election law to take up their fight with the state legislature, which creates the laws that govern elections.
“It’s time for us to move forward to issues that impact Cochise County beyond the election,” English said.
In ordering the board to certify the election, McGinley said that state law is explicitly clear that the board has a nondiscretionary duty to canvass the election and has no statutory authority to reject the results.
A county board can only delay the canvass beyond the deadline, on a day-to-day basis, if some of the results are missing. But none of the supervisors in Cochise County had claimed that any of their results are missing, giving them no justification for failing to meet the deadline for approving the election results.
Secretary of State and Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs filed suit against the supervisors Monday, the same day they voted not to certify the results of the Nov. 8 election by the deadline set by state law.
Only about two hours before the 1 p.m. court hearing, the supervisors approved hiring Daniel McCauley, a Cave Creek attorney, to represent them. But McCauley never filed a notice with the court that he would be representing the board, and he did not show up in court.
Crosby stumbled through an attempt to represent himself in court, asking for the hearing to be rescheduled for next week to give McCauley time to prepare, but McGinley denied that request.
Lawyers for the Secretary of State’s Office and the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans, both plaintiffs in the case, argued that there was too much at stake to grant the supervisors more time since the secretary of state, governor, attorney general and chief of the state supreme court are all set to certify the state election results on Dec. 5. Although the state canvass can legally be delayed until Dec. 8, Hobbs’ attorney said it would be impossible to do so because the state officials required by law to attend were only available on Dec. 5.Judge Casey McGinley on Dec. 1, 2022. Screenshot via KGUN9/pool
McGinley initially favored allowing the board to canvass the election on Friday — something the board had already intended to do, Crosby and Judd told him. But English asked him to order them to meet Thursday because the Republican commissioners weren’t simply planning to meet to approve the election.
English said the meeting agenda, which had been made public earlier, included “sort of a smack down between the Secretary of State and election deniers that (Crosby) has on the agenda.”
The supervisors planned to give the election deniers 12 minutes each to state their cases and then would give the secretary of state a chance to respond to their claims, before a vote to certify the election results. Set to speak during the meeting were Paul Rice, Daniel Wood and Brian Stein, who are all 2020 Maricopa County election deniers. Then Crosby, who sets the board’s agenda, had time set aside for the Secretary of State’s Office to make its case for why the election was valid.
“I think it’s a circus that doesn’t need to have to happen,” English said. “I’ve had enough. I think the public has had enough. So, I’m asking the court for a swift resolution.”
Lawyer representing the Secretary of State’s Office, Andy Ganoa added that the office had “no intention of participating in such a charade.”
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On Thursday, Newsweek reported that an attorney who has represented far-right rapper Kanye "Ye" West is denying an accusation that he tipped off former President Donald Trump that a meeting between his client, Trump, and neo-Nazi livestreamer Nick Fuentes was a "setup."
"White nationalist Nicholas Fuentes, who had dinner with Trump and Ye, told InfoWars host Alex Jones on Thursday that Ye accidentally sent a text message to lawyer Nicholas Gravante — who legally represents former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg," reported Nick Mordowanec. "Gravante formerly represented Ye in a legal capacity, and has never represented Trump or the Trump Organization."
"Mr. Gravante made no such call to Mr. Trump or anyone in his organization or orbit," a spokesperson for Gravante told Newsweek. "Any suggestion to the contrary is patently false. As has been widely reported, Mr. Gravante ended his representation of Ye after Ye made antisemitic comments in October."
According to Fuentes, Gravante did in fact make this call, and it effectively sabotaged the meeting.
"It turned out that Ye had accidentally sent a text message to a lawyer that both Trump and Ye share and forwarded him some intel that Karen [Giorno] gave to us about how we were going to handle the Trump meeting, how to read his body language, and the kinds of things that maybe we should avoid or things we might want to say," said Fuentes. "And so before the dinner Ye accidentally forwarded that to a lawyer, who then in the middle of the dinner apparently called Trump to say, ‘Hey, Karen Giorno’s involved. This is a setup. You guys are being set up right now.’ It was really just based on a misunderstanding.”
During this same interview, Ye took his anti-Semitism even further by professing admiration for Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler to conspiracy theorist InfoWars host Alex Jones, saying, "I see good things about Hitler ... The Jewish people are not going to tell me, you know, you can love us and you can love what we're doing to you with the contracts and you can love what we're pushing with the pornography. But this guy that invented highways and invented the very microphone that I use as a musician. You can't say out loud that this person never did anything good and I'm done with that."