Judge Cannon beat the odds to draw new Trump case; She also got free trip to posh Yellowstone resort from right-wing law school

judge cannon
judge cannon
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, left, former President Donald Trump and Cannon’s husband, Josh Lorence

By Dan Christensen,

Twice in her short tenure as a federal judge in South Florida, Aileen Cannon has drawn two of the most historic cases in American history, both involving the man who appointed her to the court, former President Donald Trump.

There are 25 active judges and senior judges on the federal bench in the Southern District of Florida. So, the odds of that happening are remote under the “blind random assignment” method the clerk’s office employs to choose presiding judges.

“The assignment schedule shall be designed to prevent any litigant from choosing the Judge to whom an action or proceeding is to be assigned, and all attorneys shall conscientiously refrain from attempting to vary this Local Rule,” according to the district’s internal operating procedures.

Court clerk Angela Noble, a graduate of the private New York Law School and a member of the Florida Bar, did not respond to Florida Bulldog’s request for comment. But in a story published Friday night, New York Times reporter Charlie Savage wrote that he asked Noble last fall whether Cannon’s involvement in Trump’s lawsuit meant she would automatically be assigned if any indictment against Trump was brought in the district.

“We do not assign related cases to the same judge. A related case will still be randomly assigned,” Noble replied by email.

Still, the court’s rules anticipate a number of reasons why assignments might be made in other ways – creating openings for possible manipulation. For example, the court’s stated desire is to reduce the “expense and inconvenience” to litigants and lawyers so operating rules limit assignments outside the division where they originated.


Trump’s case originated in the West Palm Beach division, and the rules say, “it is possible to limit case assignments to the originating division or an immediately contiguous division.” So the assignment of Cannon, who sits in the neighboring Fort Pierce division, would seem appropriate.

Miami’s Wilkie D. Ferguson U.S. Courthouse

A duty magistrate is scheduled to preside at Miami’s Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. U.S. Courthouse when Trump makes his first appearance in federal court at 3 p.m. on Tuesday. The hearing is set to be conducted in the courtroom of Chief Judge Cecilia Altonaga.  

Trump, then, apparently got lucky, drawing a judge who has ruled favorably for him before when he sought to slow or even derail the government’s investigation of him.

Or perhaps Judge Cannon was unlucky – catching the case that highlights for the nation once again her mortifying slap down by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals for her decision upholding Trump’s request to temporarily freeze the Justice Department’s investigation of files, including numerous classified records, seized from his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach last August.

It was that investigation that resulted in Trump’s indictment by a federal grand jury in Miami, the first against a former president. It was unsealed Friday by Chief Magistrate Torres.

The federal indictment includes 31 counts under the Espionage Act alleging Trump’s “willful retention of national defense information,” and additional single counts of conspiracy to obstruct justice, withholding a document or record, corruptly concealing a document or record, concealing a document in a federal investigation, operating a scheme to conceal a material fact, and making false statements and representations to the grand jury and the FBI.

Waltine Nauta

Trump’s longtime aide and former White House valet, Waltine Nauta, was charged along with Trump with conspiracy, withholding and corruptly concealing a document or record, concealing a document in a federal investigation, involvement in a scheme to conceal and making false statements and representations to the FBI.

New York Magazine’s Intelligencer called Nauta Trump’s “Diet Coke valet,” the servant “tasked with responding every time the president pressed his famous Oval Office Diet Coke button.”


Trump nominated Cannon, then 39, to her lifetime seat on the federal bench in May 2020 while she was an attorney in the appellate division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami. A member of the conservative Federalist Society who donated $100 to Ron DeSantis’s 2018 campaign for governor, she was confirmed by the Senate in November 2020 by a bipartisan majority, 56-21. Twelve Democrats joined in approving Cannon.

In September 2021, Cannon accepted an all-expenses paid trip – transportation, meals and hotel – to the posh Sage Lodge Resort & Spa in Pray, MT. to attend a six-day “colloquium seminar” held by George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia School of Law (Law and Economics Center), according to an annual financial disclosure Cannon filed on May 16, 2022. (Cannon incorrectly listed the name as George Madison University.) No other annual or periodic transaction disclosure reports by Cannon are listed on the federal court’s new online disclosure database.

The law school’s name was changed in Scalia’s honor after his death in 2016. The rebranding was “the result of a $30 million gift brokered by Leonard Leo, prime architect of a grand project then gathering force to transform the federal judiciary and further the legal imperatives of the right,” the New York Times has reported. Leo is vice president of the Federalist Society.

In recent years, GMU’s Scalia law school has come under fire as having been co-opted not only by Leo, but donations made by the conservative Koch brothers.

Judge Cannon reported she stayed at the Sage Lodge from September 26 through October 1, 2021. You can see the agenda here. She was not required to place a value on her Montana trip. But the Sage Lodge, located on the banks of the Yellowstone River about 30 miles north of the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park, advertises its least expensive rooms to cost from $600 to more than $1,000 a night in September, plus daily “resort fees.”

“All Lodge rooms include one king or two queen beds, gas fireplace, walk-in shower, and a sitting area with a queen pullout sleeper sofa. Additionally, some rooms also include a free-standing soaking tub,” says the hotel’s website.

Cannon blanked out her spouses’s name on her financial disclosure form (and was not required to declare his income), but it is well known that she is married to Josh Lorence, who works as chief operating officer for celebrity chef Bobby Flay’s Charlotte, N.C. based Bobby’s Burgers restaurant chain.

Lorence’s Linked In profile, now removed, showed that he was a BurgerFI restaurant manager when the couple married in June 2008, working his way up to chief development officer and, by 2014, COO.

According to Lorence’s biography on Bobby Burger’s website, he joined Bobby’ Burgers Palace as an executive in 2015 and later became a co-founder of Bobby’s Burgers. An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported he remained with BurgerFI until after December 2020.

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Latest comments

  • Pitiful attempt to show influence. You really are an embarrassing journalist. Smdh.

  • Think about how many people in his inner circle have been convicted of crimes since the orange bozo began his campaign in 2015. He is a criminal and he surrounds himself with other criminals. Some of them have gone without indictment or conviction, but a great number of them have been indicted and convicted. This is not a coincidence. LOCK HIM UP. DO IT NOW

  • Why do you get so uptight when something favorable happens for the Republicans/Conservatives? The Democrats do this all the time, get away with it, and the media is silent.

  • Lou in Florida. Rhetoric is ok, but if there be veracity in them words, how about giving us even one good, obvious example of where the media definitely remained mute over a proven miscarriage or abuse of a position?

  • @Lou in South Florida Nobody DID anything. There are processes and sometimes they work in your favor and sometimes not. But given the overwhelming evidence in this case its unlikely to matter. If, when you say, Democrats do this and get away with it, you mean following processes, then yes… they “get away with it” because theyre following the predetermined process that both parties have put in place. Thats the way rules work… when you follow them, you ‘get away’ with stuff. Republicans used to understand this but now it’s become, ‘that rule doesn’t suite what I want so lets just get rid of it.’

  • Thanks for jeet an eye on Judge Canon and her interfaces with Trump litigation. INHO, she shouldn’t get another chance to show such obvious incompetence and bias from the bench.

  • It is a good thing this judge is appointed on this case…cause all eyes will be on her…and any negative out come whether correct or not will be disfavorable for the ex_president…me personally would have request for another judge if I was the ex<president

  • It was obvious her selection to oversee this case was not a random selection. Do we really believe that she will be above board, I think not. She proved that behavior previously in her “outside the lines” proving her rulings in favor of Trump. She needs to recuse herself but that ain’t going to happen…

  • Russ, you’re a retard.

  • When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. I would not trust Canon on being impartial.

  • How can Cannon be “randomly selected” twice? This makes no sense other than that’s it’s on purpose.

  • GRAEME — Are you LIVING on this Planet? Like the GAS prices? Are YOU joking asking for an example of truth in Journalism? The World has been censored & silenced by FACEBOOK, TWITTER, YOUTUBE, the SOROS Media Outlets — where’s the prosecution?
    A corrupt FBI & US Attorney General maliciously raid President Trump’s home–a President who took NO PAY in Office? Even renown Democrat ALAN DERSHOWITZ opines the charge is a NOTHING BURGER.
    The corrupt FBI & US Attorney General maliciously raid President Trump’s home–a President who can’t be bought and took NO PAY in Office? OUR TAXES $$$ are being WASTED on POLITICAL PERSECUTION charging a ‘ VALET’ and former President for keeping non-classified Papers like OBAMA & BUSH did. HELLO? YET BIDEN as V.P. who had NO right to have REAL Classified Papers kept them in his GARAGE for SPYS TO COPY .. where’s the PRESS? CRICKETS? No Truth reported on the BIDEN Crime Family Millions from China & Ukraine? MAYBE the random pick of Judge Cannon is “JUSTICE”. Patriots see the HAND of God moving over the USA to rescue our Nation from bold Traitors!

  • @10:19 AM Settle down and read the indictment, word for word, and you will have more answers. Every citizen concerned with national defense should be appalled by his actions. All he had to do was return ALL the boxes to the National Archives and we would not be here today. Biden and Pence simply returned the boxes when asked and did not not appear to even be aware of them. They did not move them from room to room and conspire with others to hide them. Trump did and now faces the consequences.

  • Dude – George Soros is not the world boogie man. That would be Putin. Soros doesn’t do MEDIA, you are thinking about Rupert Murdock and Fox news. If the world is so censored, why is it that I can see your stupidity right here on full display? That is no censoring there (unfortunately). There is no “corruption” in the FBI and AG’s office just because they won’t indict a guy who hasn’t done anything but WILL indict the guy who has a bathroom LITERALLY full of information that he wants to sell to anyone who will fork over the cash. There was a spike in the deaths of AMERICAN AGENTS abroad during the trump administration, and now we know why. He’s been selling our children out to the fucking Saudies and whothehell else knows. There was no “RAID” – it was a damned search, and it was CO ORDINATED with the fat orange prick at his convenience – how the hell do you think they knew when to move the boxes in and out of the shower? (I refuse to believe anyone as stupid as you are portraying here, then again – you are defending a piece of shit, so maybe you are). You keep talking about the millions from a supposed scheme with the Bidens, which no one has been able to prove – but you have no problem with the BILLIONS that Jared has received for giving the Saudi’s information on our citizens and where MBS’s supposed enemies are? Get out of my country. Go back to mother russia where you belong. You are scum of the worst kind, and stupid as a freaking rock.

  • the probability of the trump stooge “randomly” being assigned to the first trump case was 4%. The chance that she “randomly” gets both Trump cases is 0.16%. Angela Noble, you’ve opened yourself to investigation of your finances by everyone with internet access

  • Good choice for judge. Socks case presidential records act clears trump.dems big cry babies, obama biden so guilty of treason. Love to see gitmo.

  • It appears from the comments of right wing Republicans on this column that Orwell’s “1984” was not only prescient, but has been used as an instruction manual for the attack on American society.
    A confused, fearful population that turns to the oligarch’s media such as Fox and hate radio for answers that resonate with what is trending among their fellow dazed and confused victims.
    Black is white, up is down.

  • Susan, Thank you for writing my post for me. If it really were the luck of the draw, an Honorable judge would have recused by now. It would be important to have someone with more experience, too. But, you get what you appoint…. She was as unqualified to be a federal judge as Donald Trump was to be president. And there is no reason to believe either one will be any better the second time around.

  • One more observation: There is no reason to believe the Donald did not orchestrate and manipulate this entire shit show for personal profit and free press. That is the essence of narccisistic personality disorder. He doesn’t really want to be president again. He didn’t want to the first time. It is all about the money and the spotlight. And getting what he can’t have. He is a sick individual, as are all who blindly follow him and continue to give him money. Suckers!

  • Agreed, this ORANGE STAIN and his cult followers are nothing more than ignorant frightened sheep… There is little chance that any of these fools can be reasoned with. Fundamental believers will believe ANYTHING!!! Frightening yes, but luckily these cult followers struggle with tying their shoes… “ Stupid is, is stupid does.”

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