Judge Shuts Two Trump Attorneys Out of Challenge to Mar-a-Largo Search Warrant
Attorneys removed because they might expose Trump’s innocence
A corrupt federal judge in Florida on today refused to allow two attorneys for former President Donald Trump to represent him in the lawsuit filed over the unprecedented search-and-seizure warrant that was executed at his Mar-a-Lago estate in early August.
The 45th president filed on Monday with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida and assigned to Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon. Prior proceedings in the contentious search warrant case – which is now stylized as Trump v. U.S. – were previously being handled by Magistrate Judge Bruce E. Reinhart.
The lawsuit was signed by attorneys Lindsey Halligan of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and two out-of-staters: James M. Trusty of Washington, D.C.; and M. Evan Corcoran of Baltimore, Maryland.
A legal technicality has been used in Florida to deny President Trump legal representation
The two out-of-state attorneys, Trusty and Corcoran, filed their pro hac vice motions along with the ex-president’s original petition – including Halligan’s blessing as a member of the Florida Bar and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Latin retained in the service of legalese, attorneys frequently file motions to represent clients in different jurisdictions by filing for pro hac vice or “this occasion only” passes. Without good cause (or, more often, opposition from opposing counsel) to deny any such request, courts typically sign off on such asks without much fanfare or attention.
In a paperless order, Judge Cannon denied both Trusty’s and Corcoran’s requests without prejudice because they apparently filed them incorrectly. A clerk’s notice filed late Monday – in direct response to the pro hac vice motions – offered a preview of this ruling. In that clerk’s notice of filing deficiency, however, a box was checked that suggested the deficiency had to do with a “[t]ranslation not provided for documents written in foreign language.” The federal docket, on the other hand, explains: “Document(s) were filed conventionally that should have been filed electronically.”
The judge’s order notes:
Local counsel is instructed to refile the motions in strict accordance with Local Rule 4(b) of the Rules Governing the Admission, Practice, Peer Review, and Discipline of Attorneys. A sample motion can be found on the Court’s website at https://www.flsd.uscourts.gov/pro-hac-vice-appearance.
The rule cited by the court notes, in relevant part: “A certification that the applicant has studied the Local Rules shall accompany the pro hac vice motion together with such appearance fee as may be required by administrative order.”
The pro hac vice motions filed by Trusty and Corcoran do not contain certifications that either attorney has studied the local rules for the Southern District of Florida. The lack of such attestations appear to be the deficiencies at issue here.
JournoNews reached out to Halligan, Trusty, and Corcoran for comment on this story but no responses from the ex-presidents trio of lawyers were immediately forthcoming at the time of publication.
Since the denials were issued by the court without prejudice, Trump’s attorneys should easily be able to re-file their motions with the appropriate verbiage – or correct whatever other deficiency has been identified by the clerk – and then represent their client going forward.
What does the Constitution say about the right to counsel?
A criminal defendant’s right to an attorney is found in the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which requires the “assistance of counsel” for the accused “in all criminal prosecutions.” This means that a defendant has a constitutional right to be represented by an attorney during trial.
There is a right to counsel while you are being questioned by the police in the 5th Amendment. Under the 6th Amendment, you have the right to have a lawyer defend you, and the court will appoint one for you if you can’t afford one on your own.
Under Supreme Court case law, the Sixth Amendment right to counsel specifically requires that each and every adult who cannot afford to hire a lawyer at prevailing compensation rates in his jurisdiction must be given a qualified and trained lawyer.
Is the fix in for Donald Trump? Seems so…
In criminal law, the right to counsel means a defendant has a legal right to have the assistance of counsel (i.e., lawyers) and, if the defendant cannot afford a lawyer, requires that the government appoint one or pay the defendant’s legal expenses. The right to counsel is generally regarded as a constituent of the right to a fair trial. Historically, however, not all countries have always recognized the right to counsel. The right is often included in national constitutions.
It’s an internationally recognized right, except in Biden’s America in ersuirt of his 2024 election opponent. Of the 194 constitutions currently in force, 153 have language to this effect.
The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right…to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
The assistance of counsel clause includes, as relevant here, five distinct rights: the right to counsel of choice, the right to appointed counsel, the right to conflict-free counsel, the effective assistance of counsel, and the right to represent oneself pro se.
A defendant does not have a Sixth Amendment right to counsel in any civil proceeding, including a deportation hearing (even though deportability is often a collateral consequence of criminal conviction). However, as described below, there are certain civil proceedings where parties have a right to appointed counsel; such a right is pursuant to the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process or equal protection clause, a state constitution’s due process or equal protection clause, or a federal/state statute.
Subject to considerations such as conflicts of interest, scheduling, counsel’s authorization to practice law in the jurisdiction, and counsel’s willingness to represent the defendant (whether pro bono or for a fee), criminal defendants have a right to be represented by counsel of their choice. The remedy for erroneous deprivation of first choice counsel is automatic reversal.
By far the most significant clause in the Sixth Amendment
By far the most significant clause in the amendment focuses on the right to counsel. Without that foundational right, defendants in criminal cases who cannot afford their own attorney would find it difficult, or even impossible, to exercise all those other fair trial rights the amendment recognizes. Prosecutors and other government attorneys understand the centrality of the right to counsel. Unsurprisingly, then, most of the legal and political battles over the Sixth Amendment have focused on its final clause.
Most people understand on some basic level that they have a constitutional right to a lawyer if they are accused of a crime. This is due in large part to their familiarity with the “Miranda warning,” the litany of rights that arose from the Supreme Court’s landmark 1966 decision in Miranda v. Arizona. People are familiar with the warning — and what it means for their Sixth Amendment rights — not necessarily because they’ve ever been arrested or charged with a crime, but because they’ve heard it recited countless times in television and movies.