Aileen Cannon is the federal judge presiding over a hearing in the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago. She approved a request from former President Trump’s attorneys to appoint a special master in the investigation and place restrictions on investigators.
Cannon was appointed by Trump to her position as U.S. District Court Judge in 2020. On Thursday, September 1, 2022, she heard from Trump attorneys asking she place restrictions on investigators.
Politico reported after the hearing Cannon was “giving serious consideration” to the request from Trump’s attorney to place temporary restrictions on the Department of Justice investigators to review material seized from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. Trump attorneys also had asked that a special master be appointed in the case to review documents to determine whether they were subject to executive privilege. The DOJ has said none exist among the evidence.
Cannon is a district judge for the Southern District of Florida in Fort Pierce, according to Florida’s court portal. In applying for the role, Cannon filed a her 24-page application, detailing her education, career history and background, to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Her full name is Aileen Mercedes Cannon, and she was born in 1981 in Cali, Colombia, her application says. She is bilingual and contributed to southern Florida’s Spanish newspaper, El Nuevo Herald.
Cannon’s husband is Josh Lorence, whom she married June 7, 2008, according to her wedding website. She is a mother of at least two children. Cannon is about 41 years old and she has been a member of the Federalist Society, a conservative group of judges, since 2005, she wrote on her application.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Cannon Attended Duke University, Studied Abroad in Spain & Her First Job Was as a Paralegal With the U.S. Department of Justice
Cannon completed her undergraduate degree at Duke University, which she attended from 1999 to 2003, according to her application to serve as federal judge. Cannon studied abroad for one semester in Spain at the University of Seville. She went on to attend the University of Michigan School of Law and graduated magna cum laude in 2007, her application says.
Her first professional job was working as a paralegal for the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington from 2003 to 2005. She worked in several law firms and served as a law clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in Des Moines, Iowa, her application says.
Cannon worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida before she was appointed to her current role. She was admitted to the bar in California, Washington, D.C., and Florida, she wrote.
Cannon was nominated to her post by Trump in May 2020. The Senate confirmed her by a vote of 56-21 days after the election, CNN reported.
2. Cannon’s Mother Fled Communist Cuba When She Was a Young Girl
At age 7, Cannon’s mother fled Fidel Castro’s communist regime in Cuba, the judge said at a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2020, according to CNN. She thanked her family members and spoke about how the experience shaped her life.
“To my loving mother … who, at the age of 7, had to flee the repressive Castro regime in search of freedom and security, thank you for teaching me about the blessing that is this country and the importance of securing the rule of law for generations to come,” she said, according to CNN.
Cannon was born in Colombia in 1981 and studied abroad in Spain. She is bilingual. It was not clear when she moved to the United States, but it appears she spent her entire adult life in the U.S., based on her application to serve as federal judge.
3. Cannon Contributed to a Spanish Newspaper as a College Student, Writing About Flamenco, Yoga & the Health Benefits of Tomatoes
Cannon wrote 18 articles for El Nuevo Herald, a Spanish newspaper in southern Florida owned by The Miami Herald. She wrote about a variety of topics in the articles, mainly covering health and culture topics, and they were all published during the summer of 2002, when she was an undergrad. Cannon listed her articles in her application to serve as federal judge, which was a requirement to apply.
Her articles included one discussing the potential health benefits of tomatoes in tumor reduction, tips on following instincts, a profile on interior designer Marina Albornoz and advice on using interaction to learn Spanish.
She also wrote articles called “A Fertile Book About Infertility,” “Flamenco: An Explosion of Energy and Passion” and “A Mural in Homage of the Latin Women,” according to her translations of the Spanish titles.
4. Cannon’s Husband, Josh Lorence, Proposed to Her in Greece & Was Interrupted by a Turtle
Cannon married her husband, Josh Lorence, in 2008, and she has at least two children. She mentioned her second pregnancy in her application to serve as federal judge, and was on maternity leave in October 2015, she wrote.
They were married June 7, 2008, when Aileen Cannon was 28, according to an article on The Knot. Her husband was a restaurant manager at the time. They were on vacation in Athens when he proposed.
“On the first day of their trip, he found a scenic point overlooking the ancient ruins and asked Aileen to marry him,” the article says. “The only glitch? He got a little distracted when a huge turtle walked by in the middle of the proposal. He literally stopped and said, ‘Look, the turtle!’ says Aileen, who couldn’t help but laugh before giving Josh a big Yes!”
5. Cannon Was Recognized by the DOJ for Her Work on a Fourth Amendment Appeal
Cannon received a Certificate of Appreciation for her “outstanding contribution to the mission of the Department of Justice and the Southern District of Florida” for her work on a Fourth Amendment appeal filed by a defendant in her district, her application to serve as federal judge said. She was an appellant council for the United States at the time in 2019.
The defendant, Reginald Gibbs, filed an appeal to suppress the evidence of a firearm seized by Miami-Dade Police in a traffic stop, according to a blog post written by The Swartz Law Firm. The post says Gibbs’ appeal claimed he was unlawfully detained when the firearm was collected, but the court found it was a lawful detention because Gibbs stopped in the middle of the road.
Cannon wrote the government’s brief and presented oral argument in the case, she wrote in her application. The defendant’s conviction was affirmed.