What to know about Aileen Cannon, the judge overseeing Trump's case
The big picture: Cannon was nominated to serve on the federal bench by Trump in 2020 and was criticized for ruling in his favor last year, allowing a special master to review evidence seized from Mar-a-Lago in the classified records probe.
- It's unclear whether Cannon will oversee the entirety of the case.
- Cannon did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.
Cannon, born in Colombia and raised in Miami, Fla., received her bachelor’s degree from Duke University and graduated from the University of Michigan Law School.
- She clerked for conservative Judge Steven M. Colloton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit before joining law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.
- From 2013 to 2020, she worked as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida in the major crimes and appellate divisions, she said in her Senate questionnaire for judicial nominees.
- In 2019, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s office reached out to her, saying the GOP senator "wanted to consider [her] for a judicial vacancy in the Southern District of Florida," Cannon said. She was confirmed the following year.
Of note: Cannon listed herself as a longtime member of the Federalist Society, first joining the conservative legal group in 2005.
Criticism in classified docs case
- The move essentially halted federal prosecutors' investigation into the handling of the classified documents, until an appeals court ruled to scrap the special master, saying "the district court improperly exercised equitable jurisdiction."
- The appeals court wrote in its decision that writing a rule to allow subjects of search warrants — including former presidents — to block government investigations "would be a radical reordering of our caselaw" and "would violate bedrock separation-of-powers limitations."
- "To create a special exception here would defy our Nation’s foundational principle that our law applies ‘to all, without regard to numbers, wealth, or rank,'" the appeals court wrote.
Details: Cannon had also denied the DOJ's request to exclude classified documents from the special master review.
- But the 11th Circuit sided with the DOJ when it granted the department's request to resume reviewing classified documents from Mar-a-Lago as part of the investigation.
How a judge is tapped for trial
Federal judges are randomly selected to handle criminal cases.
Yes, but: The odds that Cannon would be selected for this case were fairly low.
- There are currently 15 active Federal District Court judges in South Florida, plus 11 with senior status who could be assigned to hear cases, per the New York Times.
What we're watching: Trump's first court appearance is slated for Tuesday at the U.S. District Court in Miami.