June 20, 2024

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Secret documents: Trump’s trial will be presided over by a federal judge he appointed

Secret documents: Trump’s trial will be presided over by a federal judge he appointed

Three years ago, when Eileen Cannon was appointed a federal judge by then-US President Donald Trump, she had no idea she would one day preside over his trial.

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However, the first federal criminal trial targeting the former US president will begin on May 20, 2024 at the center of his small federal courthouse in Fort Pierce, Florida, a magistrate announced Friday.

His appointment, highly emotional, to oversee the former president’s investigation into the classified documents affair was unpopular.

Photo by AFP / US District Court for the Southern District of Florida

2024 presidential candidate Donald Trump faces 37 charges including “unlawful retention of national security information”, “obstruction of justice” and “perjury”.

He is accused of endangering the security of the United States by keeping classified documents, including information about military plans or nuclear weapons, in a bathroom or storage room at his luxury Mar-a-Lago home without turning them over to the National Archives.

Most of these counts carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison for the former president, and Eileen Cannon must decide if Donald Trump is convicted by a jury. He pleaded not guilty in mid-June.

Additionally, holding the hearing in the Republican primary center for the 2024 presidential election will only increase the pressure on the magistrate.

The investigation will not bar the billionaire from campaigning, but as an accused, he may be forced to attend hearings, which can last weeks or even months.

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It remains to be seen how Ms. Cannon will or won’t adjust the hearing schedule to her employer’s campaign needs.

Lifetime condition

Can Aileen Cannon withstand these pressures? Those who want to see Donald Trump censured for careless handling of White House secrets are skeptical.

Firstly, he has little experience as a magistrate. The billionaire Republican was given life as a federal judge shortly before he was defeated in the November 2020 presidential election. He was 38 at the time, and that included three law firms and seven in a federal prosecutor’s office in Florida.

The daughter of a Cuban refugee, she is notably a member of the Federalist Society, the most influential organization in legal circles that has the ear of elected Republicans and supports a literal reading of the Constitution.

Doubts about his impartiality are compounded by the fact that he has already shown great respect for Donald Trump.

After the FBI searched his luxury club Mar-a-Lago in August 2022, the septuagenarian took legal action to prevent prosecutors from directly examining the seized documents. Judge Cannon had already received the file and had given him some reason, but above all he had underlined the “extraordinary circumstances” associated with his former activity.

He was denied on appeal by three magistrates who were unusually critical: “If it is unusual to have a search warrant for a former president’s home, this should in no way call into question our legal analysis,” they wrote in their decision.


However, the magistrate has more than a ceremonial role.

Judge Eileen Cannon will set the schedule for preliminary hearings and the trial, so it takes place in the middle of the presidential campaign, and she will determine what physical evidence can be presented to jurors.

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For example, a lawyer for Donald Trump might be tempted to exclude incriminating notes taken on the fly in the name of professional secrecy.

Finally, he oversees the selection of jurors who must reach a unanimous verdict.

For all these reasons, many voices told him to renounce himself. Thomas Holbrook, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, underscores.

Whatever her behavior, she will be vilified, he points out: “Whatever she does, she will either stir up concerns about her potential bias or deceive Trump supporters.”