A federal judge in Florida has granted Donald Trump’s request for a special master to review the documents seized during the Mar-a-Lago raid — granting a key request by the former president and halting the administration’s investigation.
Judge Aileen Cannon approved Trump’s request to appoint a special foreman “to examine the seized property for personal effects and documents and possibly privileged material subject to the claims of the solicitor and/or executive privileges.”
The Trump-appointed judge also “temporarily” barred the administration from “reviewing and using the seized materials” until the review is complete.
That gives Trump and his legal team the side effect of stalling the fast-paced processes that have unfolded since the Aug. 8 FBI raid of Mar-a-Lago. A possible government objection could delay the process even further.
A judge has granted Donald Trump’s request to have the documents seized during the Mar-a-Lago raid checked by a special foreman
Judge Cannon issued the order in a Labor Day ruling after she surprised some legal observers with a ruling last Saturday that revealed her temporary inclination to grant Trump’s push for a special master.
Trump’s team made its first claim in a filing in federal court in Florida after another judge decided to issue a heavily redacted publication of the affidavit that helped justify the FBI’s search warrant at the former president’s private club.
Judge Aileen Cannon was appointed by Trump and confirmed in 2020
The government responded to Trump’s lawsuit in Florida with a 36-page filing, revealing new information about the scope of classified material agents found at Mar-a-Lago.
They also included an FBI photo of documents labeled “Top Secret” coming from Trump’s office, spread out on a rug.
The judge said her order should not impede a classification review or intelligence assessment.
This comes after Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told two congressional committees that she would report to them on the national security documents uncovered at Mar-a-Lago.
The judge asked attorneys for Trump and the administration to consider and submit a list of possible special champion candidates and a timeline for review and compensation.
Attorneys for former President Donald Trump called for a special foreman to review FBI-seized material and for the return of personal items belonging to Trump
A photo of documents seized during the Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago was released Tuesday night by the Justice Department
The judge withheld a decision on Trump’s request for the return of property looted during the raid.
The FBI seized 33 boxes containing over 100 classified records in its raid — and found classified documents hidden in Trump’s office, according to the file.
Some were marked “TOP SECRET//SCI” with bright yellow borders, and one was marked “SECRET//SCI” with a rust-colored border.
Addressing Trump’s request in its own filing, the administration said its own Taint teams had almost completed a review of attorney-client privilege. It also said there was no precedent for a particular master to review executive branch privilege, arguing that the privilege rested with the current executive branch: President Biden.
“Having full consideration of the parties’ arguments and the exceptional circumstances presented, the Court considers that the exercise of equitable jurisdiction over this action is justified,” Judge Cannon wrote.
She agreed with the government that the search, which came after months of back-and-forth and a subpoena for other documents, found no evidence of “callous disregard for the plaintiff’s constitutional rights.”
However, she also cited documents uncovered by a Privilege Review Team in which materials were seized, including “medical documents, tax-related correspondence and accounting information.”
She said the government admitted to seizing some personal items “without probative value”, with “more than 500 pages of material potentially subject to attorney-client privilege”.
She cited a “Detailed Property Inventory” in which the government said agents “seized”approximately 11,000 documents and 1,800 other items from the ‘office and storeroom’ at Mar-a-Lago.
Their decision also cited the risk of government leaks.
“In addition to the loss of potentially significant personal documents, which alone causes real harm, the plaintiff faces unquantifiable potential harm from improper disclosure of sensitive information to the public,” she wrote.
The judge also showed sensitivity to Trump’s reputation should he be indicted or even as a result of the search of his home.
“Because of plaintiff’s previous position as President of the United States, the stigma attached to the seizure in question is in a league of its own. A future indictment based in any way on property intended to be returned would result in reputational damage on a whole different scale,” she wrote.
In one passage, the judge noted the “limits” of her resolve, stating that Trump “may not have the authority to return much of the confiscated property or to enforce his expected privileges.” This investigation remains open for another day,” she added.
She also dismissed a government analogy that Trump’s push to get back US government documents was akin to a drug dealer in a case pleading guilty to cocaine trafficking and then demanding the return of $140,000, which he received during a raid were confiscated.
“The plaintiff has not pleaded guilty to any criminal offence; the government has not clearly explained why the plaintiff’s hands are unclean in relation to the confiscated personal materials; and in any event, this is not a situation where there is no room to doubt the immediately apparent incriminating nature of the material seized, as in the case of cocaine sales,” she wrote.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11182181/Judge-GRANTS-Trumps-special-master-request.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Judge GRANTS Trump’s special master’s request