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The judge assigned to oversee Trump's criminal case was appointed by Trump himself

Judge Aileen Cannon was appointed to the bench by Trump in 2020. She ruled in favor of Trump’s request to appoint a special master to review documents seized by the FBI in Florida last summer.

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Former President Donald Trump appearing at the Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., on Nov. 15, 2022.

Former President Donald Trump appearing at the Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., on Nov. 15, 2022.

Andrew Harnik/AP

Read NPR’s live blog for the latest on the Trump indictment.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon has been assigned, at least for now, to oversee the case stemming from Donald Trump’s indictment, a source confirmed to NPR on Friday.

Trump appointed Cannon to the bench in 2020, and she is the same judge who ruled in favor of Trump’s request to appoint a special master to review documents seized by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago last summer, a move that temporarily stopped federal prosecutors from continuing their investigation into the documents.

The ruling sparked pushback from the Justice Department, which argued that the appointment would “significantly harm important governmental interests, including national security interests.”

Cannon also ruled to unseal a list of items the FBI seized from their search of Trump’s home. If Trump is convicted and Cannon remains on the case, she would be responsible for determining the sentence, including any prison time.

The attorneys who have been working with Trump on the case — Jim Trusty and John Rowley — resigned from representing him Friday morning as part of the fallout from his indictment by a federal grand jury.

“Now that the case has been filed in Miami, this is a logical moment for us to step aside and let others carry the cases through to completion,” a statement the pair released reads.

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