Updated: Jun 12
By: April Carson
Sources familiar with the matter have revealed that the summons sent to former President Donald Trump and his legal team on Thursday indicates that U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon will oversee the case, at least in the beginning.
If Trump is found guilty, Cannon, who was appointed by Trump to the federal bench in 2020, will have to determine his sentence, including the possibility of prison time. This adds another unusual aspect to the case, which involves the first federal charges against a former president.
According to sources familiar with the matter, Trump has been indicted on at least seven federal charges by a federal grand jury late on Thursday. This is in connection to an investigation into his handling of classified documents. Over 100 documents with classified markings were discovered at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in August 2022.
Trump once again insisted on his innocence and denied any accusations of wrongdoing. He has previously denied any involvement in the case, despite a number of eyewitness accounts that contradict his claims.
The indictment is yet another political blow for Trump and his supporters who have been trying to distance themselves from him since he left office in January 2021. It also adds further tension to the already strained relationship between the former president and congressional Republicans.
Judge Cannon has previous involvement in the case. Last year, he appointed a "special master" to review materials seized from Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate. During that time, legal experts criticized Cannon for granting Trump several surprising victories.
Now, with the federal indictment, it is unclear if Cannon will be able to maintain his impartiality in the case. He has not yet stated how he plans to proceed.
ABC News attempted to contact Judge Cannon's chambers on Friday morning by leaving a voicemail for comment. However, a response was not immediately received.
Trump's legal team is expected to make their first appearance before Judge Cannon on Monday in an effort to contest the indictment. The outcome of the hearing could determine whether Trump will face a trial, avoid prison time, or receive some other form of punishment.
At one point, Cannon prevented the FBI from using the seized classified documents in their ongoing investigation until she had finished reviewing them. However, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals panel later overturned Cannon's order entirely, stating that she had exceeded her authority in the investigation.
Sources have revealed that along with Cannon, Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart was also named in the summons sent to Trump on Thursday. Reinhart is expected to work with Cannon in handling the case.
Magistrate Judge Reinhart, who took office in 2018, has experience with the Trump case. He approved the original search warrant for Mar-a-Lago in 2019 and later decided to make the search affidavit public. Unfortunately, he received anti-Semitic comments on the internet because of these decisions.
It remains to be seen how Trump's case will play out in the courts and what the consequences of his actions will be.
According to experts, while judges in federal cases are normally assigned randomly, the summons for Trump seems to suggest that Cannon and Reinhart, who have already been involved in the proceedings, have been chosen.
Former senior Justice Department national security official Brandon Van Grack said, "While there are no guarantees, this looks like a situation where two of the most qualified and knowledgeable judges have been selected to oversee the case."
At this time, it is unclear how long the case will take to resolve. However, with Cannon and Reinhart overseeing the proceedings, Trump's legal team is likely preparing for a long battle ahead.
According to the federal court filing system PACER, the case number mentioned in the written summons received by ABC News matches a docket under the name "Judge AMC." It is worth noting that Cannon's full name is Aileen Mercedes Cannon.
Due to Cannon's previous involvement in Trump's investigation, her assignment to the center of the current potential criminal case is highly significant and likely to be closely scrutinized by the public.
The judge's decisions, ranging from procedural matters to Trump's attempts to dismiss the case before the trial, will heavily impact the direction of the case. This is especially significant since the trial will take place during an election year, and Trump is currently the leading candidate for the Republican party.
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April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
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