The court summons sent to Trump and his legal team Thursday shows that U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon will initially oversee the case. Trump appointed Cannon to the bench in 2020.
Although many may have forgotten her name, Cannon received nationwide scrutiny at the start of the investigation into Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents. Following the FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago, and upset with how things were going, Trump filed a made-up motion titled a “Motion for Judicial Oversight and Additional Relief.”
Cannon agreed to hear the motion, despite having no jurisdiction to do so, and ultimately assigned a “special master” to review all of the material the FBI found at Mar-a-Lago before the investigation could proceed—a victory for Team Trump.
The Justice Department appealed the decision, and the Eleventh Circuit Court ultimately ruled that neither Cannon nor Trump had had any legal right for their actions. The appeals court threw Cannon’s decision out entirely.
As The New Republic’s Matt Ford previously explained,
Much of the panel’s analysis is aimed at Trump’s specific arguments before it, but there is also a palpable disdain for Cannon’s handling of the case to this point. At every point possible, the Eleventh Circuit highlighted the shortcomings in her analysis of precedent, the limited scope of her inquiries on factual matters, and the perfunctory way in which she applied the appropriate legal tests—all of which happened to tilt things in Trump’s favor. By their very nature, appeals courts often criticize rulings made by lower court judges. Even by these standards and expectations, the panel took great pains to make it unusually clear that Cannon had not just made a few simple mistakes.
This time around, Trump’s case would still be heard by a jury, but Cannon would get to determine Trump’s sentence. If she does oversee the case again, there’s no telling what breaks she’ll give Trump this time around.