The felony case in opposition to President Donald J. Trump over his hoarding of categorised paperwork was randomly assigned to Decide Aileen M. Cannon, a court docket official for the Southern District of Florida mentioned on Saturday.
The chief clerk of the federal court docket system there, Angela E. Noble, additionally confirmed that Decide Cannon would proceed to supervise the case until she recused herself.
The news of Judge Cannon’s assignment raised eyebrows due to her function in an earlier lawsuit filed by Mr. Trump difficult the F.B.I.’s search of his Florida membership and property, Mar-a-Lago. In issuing a sequence of rulings favorable to him, Decide Cannon, a Trump appointee, successfully disrupted the investigation till a conservative appeals court docket dominated she by no means had reputable authorized authority to intervene.
Underneath the district court docket’s procedures, new instances are randomly delegated to a choose who sits within the division the place the matter arose or a neighboring one, even when it pertains to a earlier case. That Decide Cannon is dealing with Mr. Trump’s felony indictment elicited the query of how that had come to be.
Requested over electronic mail whether or not regular procedures had been adopted and Decide Cannon’s project was random, Ms. Noble wrote: “Regular procedures had been adopted.”
Mar-a-Lago is within the West Palm Seashore division, between the Fort Lauderdale division and the Fort Pierce division, the place Decide Cannon sits. The district court docket’s web site shows that seven active judges have chambers in these three divisions, as do three judges on senior standing who nonetheless hear instances.
Ms. Noble wrote that sure components elevated the probabilities that the case would land earlier than Decide Cannon.
For one, she mentioned, senior judges are faraway from the case project system, or wheel, as soon as they fulfill their goal caseload for the yr. At the very least one of many senior judges is completed, she wrote, including that she was extremely assured that the opposite two “are very probably at their goal,” too.
As well as, she wrote, one of many seven lively judges with chambers in Fort Lauderdale is now a Miami choose for the aim of assignments. One other just isn’t at the moment receiving instances.
A 3rd lively choose, Donald Middlebrooks, attracts 50 p.c of his felony instances from the Miami division, she wrote, lowering his odds. (Decide Middlebrooks this yr ordered Mr. Trump and his lawyers to pay nearly a million dollars in sanctions for having filed a frivolous lawsuit in opposition to practically three dozen of his perceived political enemies, together with Hillary Clinton.)
Decide Cannon, Ms. Noble wrote, “attracts 50 p.c of her instances from West Palm Seashore, growing her odds.”
The clerk clarified one other matter: whether or not Decide Cannon would proceed to deal with the case. Since information of Decide Cannon’s project emerged early Friday, observers have speculated that it might solely be an preliminary project earlier than being handed to a different choose.
However Ms. Noble confirmed that no court docket apply would return the case to be assigned to a different choose. In brief, Decide Cannon’s project is everlasting until she had been to step apart.