Trump Praises Judge in Classified Documents Case 2 Days Ahead of Hearing

July 17, 2023

Former President Trump on Sunday praised U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon as he seeks a postponement in the trial over his handling of classified documents. 

On Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures, Trump called Canon “a very highly respected judge. A very smart judge, and a very strong judge….I’m very proud to have appointed her.”

His remarks were broadcast two days ahead of the first scheduled hearing in the case, in Miami. Cannon set Tuesday’s date after Trump and his aid Walt Nauta requested a postponement in the trial. 

In a court filing last Monday, Trump’s attorneys said a December trial date requested by the Department of Justice was too soon, that it would deny them reasonable time to prepare, and described the government’s requested schedule as “unrealistic.” 

Trump attorneys further asserted that the court should “postpone any consideration of a new trial date.” They made it clear in the filing that they oppose any trial that would start during the 2024 Presidential election season.

Special Counsel Jack Smith has countered that the filing was a move to create an “unnecessary” delay. Prosecutors in Smith’s office had already asked Cannon to delay the trial from her initial date of August 14 to December 11 in order to give both sides more time to prepare.

On June 13, Trump pleaded not guilty to 37 criminal counts brought by a Florida grand jury. The charges include 31 counts for willful retention of national defense secrets in violation of the Espionage Act, as well as one count each of making false statements, conspiracy to obstruct justice, withholding a document or record, corruptly concealing a document or record, concealing a document in a federal investigation, and a scheme to conceal. 

Nauta, a former Navy petty officer who worked for Trump in the White House as a valet and continued to work as an aide to the former President after Trump left office in January 2021, pleaded not guilty on July 6 to  six criminal charges, including conspiracy to obstruct, withholding a document or record, and a scheme to conceal. 

Cannon was confirmed to the Southern District Court of Florida by bipartisan Senate vote in November 2020.

Previous rulings by Cannon had already slowed the special counsel’s investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents post-Presidency. This past December, an 11th Circuit Court of Appeals panel tossed Cannon’s 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.

PHOTO: Judge Aileen Cannon 2021

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