Get PolitiFact in your inbox.

Samantha Putterman
By Samantha Putterman June 12, 2023

Aileen Cannon, the Trump-appointed judge in the documents case, wasn't pictured in a Team Trump hat

If Your Time is short

  • This image is not of U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon. It was taken at a September 2022 speech former President Donald Trump made in Pennsylvania to endorse local candidates. The photo is one of many that showed people who attended the event. 

  • Cannon’s connection to the image appears to be from an article that used the photo in a piece that criticized an order Cannon made in a Trump lawsuit over the FBI’s search for documents. 

Judge Aileen Cannon’s assignment to oversee the federal case against former President Donald Trump drew some criticism, because Cannon is a Trump appointee and previously favored Trump’s side in his challenge of the FBI’s search for classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

But Cannon’s appointment has also led to some misinformation. 

A viral photo of two women wearing "Team Trump" hats and red, white and blue face paint began to circulate after Cannon was assigned the case, with social media users claiming that one of the women was Cannon.

"U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon (on the left side in photo) has been initially assigned to oversee the case...could preside over the trial as well," read a June 9 tweet that displayed the photo. 

"Judge Aileen Cannon (on the left), the ‘impartial’ judge overseeing Trump’s espionage docs case. What could possibly go wrong?" a June 11 Facebook post said.  

But neither person in the viral photo is Cannon.

The image was taken from the crowd at a Sept. 3, 2022, Trump speech in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, ahead of midterm elections. Getty Images photographer Spencer Platt took the photo; his caption did not identify the women.

The photo was taken around the same time that Cannon issued her order in the Trump lawsuit; the order temporarily halted the Justice Department’s investigation until a federal appeals court found that she didn’t have the legal authority to intervene. The liberal news website Slate used the photo in a story that criticized Cannon’s order. 

The snarky caption initially said: "Trump rally goers, or members of the judiciary? It’s hard to say." 

Slate changed the caption June 12 to say only "Trump rallygoers," noting at the bottom of the story that it was "updated to reflect the fact that these are not members of the judiciary." 

Slate didn’t misidentify Cannon in the photo, but social media users who claimed the image depicted the judge said it came up in Google image searches for Cannon. 

This claim is False. 

RELATED: 9 Trump claims about the Mar-a-Lago classified documents probe, fact-checked, June 7, 2023

Our Sources

New York Times, Trump Appointee Will Remain Judge in Documents Case, Clerk Says, June 10, 2023 

New York Times, Judge Grants Trump’s Request for Special Master to Review Mar-a-Lago Documents, Sept. 5, 2022 

Twitter post, June 9, 2023

Facebook post, June 11, 2023

Getty Images, Former President Trump Holds Campaign Rally In Pennsylvania To Support Local Candidates, Sept. 3, 2022

Slate, The Solution to the Trump Judge Problem Nobody Wants to Talk About, Sept. 6, 2022 

Daniel Dale tweet, June 11, 2023 

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Samantha Putterman

Aileen Cannon, the Trump-appointed judge in the documents case, wasn't pictured in a Team Trump hat

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up