Judge Cannon questions out-of-state grand jury in classified documents case

August 7, 2023

Judge Aileen Cannon on Monday ordered the Department of Justice to explain the use of a DC grand jury in the case surrounding classified documents at former President Trump’s Florida residence, Mar-a-Lago.

Her demand came in response to a pair of filings under seal that Cannon, a U.S. District Judge with the Southern District of Florida, directed a clerk to strike from the docket.

The DOJ “shall address the legal propriety of using an out-of-district grand jury proceeding to continue to investigate and/or to seek post-indictment hearings on matters pertinent to the instant indicted matter in this district,” Cannon wrote.

Special Counsel Jack Smith’s initial and superseding indictments of Trump related to his handling of classified documents post-presidency are set to be tried in Cannon’s Fort Pierce, Florida courtroom, though much of the grand jury work ahead of the indictment was conducted through a Washington DC grand jury.

Altogether Trump is facing 40 criminal counts in the case, including 31 counts for willful retention of national defense secrets in violation of the Espionage Act as well as obstruction of justice and other charges. 

Judge Cannon has set a May 14 date for jury selection and a two-week trial period set to begin May 20.

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