Trump Appointed Judge Aileen Cannon to Initially Oversee Classified Documents Case

June 9, 2023

Florida Federal Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, will initially oversee the former President’s indictment by a federal grand jury in Florida related to his handling of classified documents. 

Cannon, a federal judge with the Southern District of Florida, was widely criticized for ruling in Trump’s favor amid the months-long investigation. In December an 11th Cirtcuit Court of Appeals panel tossed her decision to appoint a special master to review the hundreds of documents obtained during an FBI raid of Trump’s Florida country club residence, Mar-a-Lago.

In a a 23-page unanimous opinion that soundly criticized Cannon’s order, the 11th Circuit panel stated, “The law is clear…We cannot write a rule that allows any subject of a search warrant to block government investigations after the execution of the warrant. Nor can we write a rule that allows only former presidents to do so.”

Cannon is reportedly set to preside over Trump’s first appearance at 3pm ET Tuesday in Federal District Court in Miami. It remains unclear, however, whether Cannon will reside over the entire case. 

Trump was indicted Thursday on seven criminal counts that  reportedly include: unauthorized retention of national security documents, conspiracy charges, obstruction, making a false statement to a law enforcement officer about a fact material to the officer’s investigation, mishandling official documents, and contempt of court for willfully disobeying a court order to hand over subpoenaed documents to the federal government.

The charges stem from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into whether Trump broke the law in his mishandling of classified documents after an FBI raid had discovered hundreds of  hundreds of federal documents—many of them classified—at his Florida country club residence, Mar-a-Lago. Smith, a veteran career prosecutor, had received his appointment as special counsel from Attorney General Merrick Garland in November. 

Trump has repeatedly insisted that he is innocent, though he has never denied taking and holding onto the documents, which he has asserted he would “have the right” to do.

According to reports it was Trump’s team who leaked Friday that Cannon is slated to take up the initial stage of the historic case—the first time ever that a former U.S. President has been charged with federal crimes.

PHOTO: Judge Aileen Cannon 2021

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