The summons given to former president Donald Trump and his legal team late Thursday indicates that U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon will be assigned to oversee his case, at least initially, according to reports.
The case featuring the first federal charges brought against a former president will experience yet another first with Cannon’s alleged assignment: Trump named Cannon to the federal court in 2019, so if he is ultimately found guilty, she will be in charge of deciding his sentence, which may include prison time.
As part of an investigation into his handling of classified documents, a federal grand jury decided late Thursday to indict Trump on at least seven criminal crimes, people familiar with the issue told ABC News. The charge follows the discovery of more than 100 secret documents at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in August 2022.
Trump reiterated his innocence late on Thursday after previously denying all wrongdoing.
The 42-year-old judge was chosen as a “special master” last year to examine the documents taken from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. Legal analysts charged Cannon with giving Trump a string of puzzling triumphs during those proceedings.
In one case, until she had finished her evaluation, Cannon prohibited the FBI from using the seized sensitive materials in their continuing investigation. An 11th Circuit Court of Appeals court finally threw out Cannon’s order in its entirety after concluding that she had exceeded her authority in the investigation.
According to the sources, in addition to Cannon, Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart’s name was also listed on the summons that was delivered to Trump on Thursday.
The case against Trump is also familiar to Reinhart, who took the oath of office as a magistrate judge in 2018. He approved the initial search warrant of Mar-a-Lago last year and later decided to unseal the search affidavit, choices that led to him becoming the victim of antisemitic slurs online.