Donald Trump praised Judge Aileen Cannon, an appointee of the former president who was randomly assigned to preside over his classified documents trial.

Last month, Trump was indicted on 37 counts for willful retention of national security information and conspiracy to obstruct justice. He was arrested and arraigned at the Miami federal courthouse, where he pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Special Counsel Jack Smith has filed a motion for the trial to be delayed until at least December, on the grounds that a plan is needed to ensure that the classified information that will be introduced as evidence remains confidential. Trump’s team has opposed this request and has instead filed a motion for an “indefinite delay” of the trial, arguing that his controversial bid in the 2024 presidential election will make it impossible to assemble an impartial jury.

Trump appeared on Fox News’s Sunday Morning Futures and commended Cannon for her strength and patriotism. When asked if he believes that Cannon will grant Smith’s motion, he said he did not know.

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“I know it’s a very highly respected judge. A very smart judge, and a very strong judge,” Trump responded. “We need judges that love our country so they do the right thing.”

Cannon has been under scrutiny since being selected to preside over the hearings. Political and legal experts have questioned her competency to rule in such a historic case, as she has little experience working in criminal trials as other attorneys in her district.

Questions have also been raised about a possible conflict of interest, as Trump appointed Cannon right as his term as president was coming to an end. She even ruled in Trump’s favor during the early stages of the investigation into his alleged crimes; at one point, she tried to bar prosecutors from using the classified documents they seized from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, a decision that was quickly overturned by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Trump’s praise may not be lasting – on Friday, Judge Cannon ruled that the documents trial will begin in May 2024.

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