Judge Aileen Cannon: Trump’s request for a ‘special master’ puts one of his appointed judges in the spotlight


Former President Donald Trump’s request for a “special master” to oversee the review of evidence gathered during the FBI’s search of his Mar-a-Lago estate pushed one of his own legal agents in the middle of his latest legal and political drama.

District Court Judge Aileen Cannon of the Southern District of Florida, who was nominated by Trump to the bench in 2020, is dealing with the former president’s request for the Special Master, a third-party attorney who would screen privileged documents seized during of the search.

Cannon warned Trump’s team and the Justice Department that she had a the “preliminary intention” to appoint a special master, although she cautioned that this should not be construed as her final decision on the matter. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday at 1 p.m. ET.

She was nominated to her position by Trump in May 2020 and the Senate confirmed her by a vote of 56-21 just days after the presidential election.

Aileen Cannon is appearing virtually before the Senate Judiciary Committee in July 2020.

Before taking office, Cannon served as an assistant United States Attorney in Florida, where she worked in the major crimes division and as an appellate attorney, according to written answers she gave to the Senate during its confirmation process.

After graduating from the University of Michigan Law School, Cannon clerked for a federal judge and later practiced law at a firm in Washington, D.C., where she handled a range of cases, including some related to “government investigations,” according to his statements. the Senate in 2020.

Before taking questions during a confirmation hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee, Cannon, whose mother fled communist Cuba, thanked her family members and shared the impact their experience had on her life. .

“To my beloved mother…who, at the age of 7, had to flee the repressive regime of Castro in search of freedom and safety, thank you for teaching me the blessing that is this country and the importance of ensuring the rule of law for generations to come,” she said.

Already, Cannon is facing criticism over her handling of the Trump case. Last week, she identified several shortcomings in Trump’s initial request for more oversight of the FBI’s review of seized evidence and asked him to expand on the request. Although her new response filed on Friday seemed to fall short of the elaboration she was seeking, observers argued that she was being overly generous when she essentially gave her team a second chance to request the special master.

Cannon has three separate choices in the case, Harvard constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe told CNN in a statement. “She could either redeem herself by starting to act like a real federal judge unaffected by the identity of the president who appointed her, or win the condemnation of national security experts and legal scholars by missing the biggest case that the most judges have ever touched in a lifetime and endangering the lives of our spies overseas,” he said.

The judge could also “leave things in the state of confusion created by her strange interim order,” Tribe said, referring to her Saturday order in which she said she was about to access the Trump’s request.

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