Magistrate to preside over Trump’s arraignment, not controversial Judge Aileen Cannon

June 14, 2023

A magistrate judge will be presiding over the momentous Miami federal court hearing on Tuesday afternoon, June 13, when former President Donald Trump makes his first appearance on charges of keeping classified documents at his Palm Beach estate and obstructing government efforts to reclaim them, reports the Miami Herald.

Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodmannot U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who was randomly assigned Trump’s case—will be handling the former president’s arraignment and bond matters.Cannon, who had been widely reported to be handling those duties, will still remain on the historic case as the lead judge.

Goodman is a well-regarded veteran magistrate who once worked as a newspaper reporter in South Florida and later obtained his law degree and practiced civil litigation, including as a partner with the Akerman law firm in Miami.

Goodman, who is on duty as the magistrate judge this week, is known not only for his legal wisdom but also for his wry humor in the courtroom.

Cannon is the newest member of the federal bench in South Florida, joining the court system as a judge just days after Trump lost the November 2020 election. Cannon, who was nominated by Trump and previously served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office as a prosecutor, drew widespread criticism for her handling of the former president’s civil case challenging the FBI’s seizure of classified documents from his Mar-a-Lago estate last summer.

Miami attorney Joseph DeMaria, who once worked in the Justice Department’s organized crime task force in South Florida, told the Herald last week that there may be no legal reason to disqualify Cannon from staying on the Trump case. But he said that the American public is so divided politically that if she chooses to stick with it, many people might not have faith in the outcome.

“Should she recuse herself?” asked DeMaria, a Republican. “As a citizen, I think she should. Donald Trump is entitled to a fair trial, but the people of this country also deserve a fair trial.”

If Cannon were to step aside for any reason, the Trump case would be randomly assigned again to one of the other three federal judges in the West Palm Beach division: Robin Rosenberg, who was nominated by President Barack Obama; Donald Middlebrooks, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton; or Kenneth Marra, who was nominated by President George W. Bush.

Trump’s legal team has been interviewing South Florida lawyers to join the team, most notably Ben Kuehne, a Democrat and prominent member of the legal community. He’s a former president of the Miami-Dade Bar Association and most recently represented Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo in his federal civil case in which Carollo was sued by businessman Bill Fuller.

Research contact: @MiamiHerald