A federal judge who was appointed by former President Donald Trump has been assigned to initially oversee the case brought against him by the Biden Justice Department, a sign that prosecutors may struggle with finding friendly turf to settle a case that some see as politically motivated.
According to a summons sent to President Trump and his legal team on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon will likely hear opening remarks by both sides, a positive sign for the president given Cannon’s history of handling Trump victories in previous cases. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who previously authorized a sweeping search of Mar-a-Lago and unsealed the search affidavit, is also mentioned in the summons according to sources who spoke with ABC News.
When classified documents were first discovered at Trump’s Florida residence, Judge Cannon originally halted a government review of the documents, handing Trump’s legal team a small legal victory. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals panel later overruled her, saying Cannon overstepped her judicial authority.
Judges who oversee cases like the one against President Trump are normally chosen at random. However, legal analysts believe Cannon and Reinhart may have already played roles in the proceedings.
“If the case is being overseen by the same district and magistrate judges, that means the court likely considered the indictment to be ‘related’ to the search warrant and intentionally assigned it to those judges,” former senior Justice Department national security official Brandon Van Grack told ABC News.
The nation will be scrutinizing Judge Cannon’s every move for biases in a case that carries no legal precedent and could wind up before the Supreme Court. President Trump’s legal team will surely try to have the case dismissed before it goes to trial, but in the meantime, his political operation is taking advantage of every opportunity to bolster his campaign for the White House while his rivals struggle to respond.