The article has been updated with more information on the normal procedure for the Southern District of Florida in assigning cases and judges.
Even though prosecutors have publicly revealed a detailed and extensive array of evidence against the former president Donald J. Trump In the document investigation, on Friday they could suffer a possible setback due to the unexpected assignment of this case. Judge Aileen M. Cannon.
Judge Cannon, 42, a Trump Last year, a Florida appointee shocked lawyers of all ideologies by interfering with the investigation and granting favorable rulings to Mr. TrumpA conservative appeals Court rebuked him.
According to the chief clerk of courts for Southern District of Florida, new cases are assigned to judges at random even when they relate to older ones. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Mr. Trump If you lucked in, or made an exception. Legal experts said that it doesn’t matter which way you look at it. Judge Cannon’s return was significant.
Unsealed Indictment Available “a strong factual presentation,” Paul Rosenzweig is a former Bush Administration official, federal prosecutor and member of the Independent Counsel investigation on President Bill Clinton. “If this were a normal person and a normal case, you’d be talking to your client about pleading guilty. So I think the Cannon draw is actually a serious blow to the prosecution.”
Then Mr. Trump has been charged — with 37 criminal counts, including 31 violations of the Espionage Act, various charges of obstruction and making a false statement — Judge Cannon has ample opportunities to make rulings that affect the outcome and tempo of the case.
One of the most important pieces of evidence in Mr. Trump’s own lawyers, raising the likelihood of a fight over whether it should be suppressed as a matter of attorney-client privilege.
This evidence includes an audio memo as well as witness testimony that shows Mr. Trump His legal team was kept in the dark when he had his aide Walt Nauta move boxes to a room for storage. M. Evan Corcoran searched for classified materials in the room as a response to a court subpoena. Christina Bobb signed a false statement stating that the rest of the classified documents were going to be turned over.
“Mr. Trump His team had waged a fierce battle against the Special Counsel to prevent him from getting this information. Beryl A.Howell, the Chief Judge of the Federal District Court of the District of Columbia decided that the “crime-fraud” exception was applicable, and that a Grand Jury in the District could review the case.
These decisions were made based on what could be presented to a Grand Jury. Mr. Trump’s defense team can bring new motions to suppress that evidence and keep the information from reaching the trial jury, and Judge Cannon does not bind itself to any laws Judge Howell’s rulings.
Make the Right Decisions Judge Cannon’s role in setting up the trial and pretrial calendars could be crucial. Mr. Trump has long pursued a strategy of trying to run out the clock on legal matters, and if he can push the documents trial beyond the 2024 election, there is a chance that a Republican — whether that is Mr. Trump himself, or another nominee — will become president and end the case.
Because the case involves classified evidence — 31 of the counts against Mr. Trump center on violations of the Espionage Act in the unauthorized retention of 31 secret and top secret documents — it is likely that any judge would spend significant time in handling pretrial hearings over whether to allow substitutions that do not contain classified information.
Samuel Buell is a professor of white-collar crime at Duke University, and he was the former chief prosecutor for Enron’s task force. “a lot of misdirections and delays and things that may play well in the MAGA media space but I don’t see legally how even a judge inclined to make mischief is going to prevent this from going to trial.”
Still, “out-of-left-field rulings could be coming here,” He said adding “When you have classified documents, there is abundant opportunities to slow this down, and if they’ve got a judge who is willing to go along with slowing this down, it becomes very hard to predict when this will go to trial.”
It is important to note that there are no guarantees. Judge Cannon’s pattern will be the same as it was last autumn. Cannon will continue to follow the pattern she exhibited last fall.
Professor Ryan Goodman of New York University Law School said that the 31 documents that are at the core of the Espionage Act allegations were likely selected carefully by Jack Smith the Special Counsel leading the investigation and only after discussions with officials from national security agencies about whether or not they should be made available to the defense and jurors, if needed.
A question that may arise would be whether the intelligence agencies allowed Mr. Smith to use certain documents in hopes that he could convince a court to prevent them being shown publicly. If Mr. Trump’s legal team argues that certain documents must be used openly for there to be a fair trial, rulings in his favor could cause the government to consider instead dropping any charges on which those files are based.
Judge Cannon was raised in Miami. She was born and raised in Cali in Colombia. Her mother fled Cuba as a young girl after the 1959 Communist revolution, and her father’s family is from Indiana. She has a degree from Duke University, a Law School at the University of Michigan, worked as an assistant to a conservative federal court judge and was a federal prosecutor.
She became a member of the Federalist Society in 2005 as a student and she was 39 at the time when Mr. Trump Nominated for a Federal Judgeship in 2020. She was working from a tiny federal courthouse located in Fort Pierce (Florida), north of Palm Beach County. Her work attracted very little attention, until she took on the case of special masters over the Mar-a-Lago search, which Mr. Trump’s club and residence in Palm Beach.
The last year Judge Cannon was responsible for the civil suit filed by Mr. Trump The F.B.I. Mar-a-Lago was searched by the F.B.I. There were 102 documents marked classified that Mr. Trump The company failed to comply with a subpoena received months before.
Judge Cannon, who was a Republican, temporarily barred investigators access to materials. A special master vetted the files to identify those that were to be excluded permanently. Cannon entertained the unheard-of idea that criminal investigators at the Justice Department could not have access to some White House documents under executive privilege. Cannon also created a timeline that threatened the entire investigation would be frozen for four months.
She believed that former presidents should be given greater protection than a criminal suspect. She was also a great help to Mr. Trump By overturning the special Master she appointed Judge Raymond Dearie when he ordered M. Trump to certify the accuracy of the F.B.I.’s inventory of property it had seized from his Florida estate.
Justice Department appealed, and a panel of the Court of Appeals of the 11th Circuit which included other Trump Appointees stopped her from interfering. A panel of judges ruled that Ms. Xiao had no authority to either order the review, or prevent investigators using files. Trump The search warrant will treat the target differently than any other. This decision was left unchallenged by the Supreme Court. Judge Cannon dismissed all claims.
This reporter asked for clarification last fall on the question of whether Judge Cannon’s involvement with the lawsuit meant she would be automatically assigned any indictment if it were brought in the Southern District of Florida. Angela Noble wrote in email messages that: “We do not assign related cases to the same judge. A related case will still be randomly assigned.”
Even so, there is a chance that an arrest will be randomly chosen. Judge The Cannons were Low
The district is normally a small area assigns new cases The judge who hears the case should be in the same division as the original matter or adjacent. Mar-a-Lago, located between Fort Pierce (between Fort Lauderdale) and Fort Lauderdale in West Palm Beach Division. Seven active judges have chambers in those three divisions, as do three on senior status who still hear cases.
The email sent to Ms. Noble asking for clarification on what had happened was not answered immediately.
Mr. Trump The team of Mr. X has indicated their intention to bring up allegations against investigators and prosecutors, just as they tried to do this month at a Justice Department gathering to prevent an indictment.
Criminal defendants claim that prosecutors intimidated witnesses and did other wrongdoing, but they are rarely successful. If you’re a criminal defendant, it is common for them to claim that prosecutors have threatened witnesses or committed other misconduct. But they rarely succeed. Judge Cannon treats these claims with more respect than a trial judge would normally show. Mr. Smith could be tried before Mr. Trump.
“Pretrial litigation over the conduct of prosecutors is a good one for gumming things up and fits with Trump’s message, which is going to be ‘out of control, politically motivated prosecutors,’” Buell, Mr. “So we will see plenty of that.”