Last Updated on September 5, 2022
A federal judge on Monday granted former President Donald Trump’s request that a special master review items the FBI seized from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. The judge also halted the Department of Justice’s use of seized items for “investigative purposes.”
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, ruled that a special master will be appointed to review the seized items to determine if any are personal items or items subject to claims of attorney-client privilege or executive privilege.
In addition, Cannon halted the DOJ’s use of Trump’s items for “investigative purposes” while the special master conducts its review. She did note that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence could continue its “classification review and/or intelligence assessment.”
Cannon wrote that the court was “mindful of the need to ensure at least the appearance of fairness and integrity under the extraordinary circumstances presented” in granting Trump’s request.
The DOJ has strongly pushed back on Trump’s request for a special master, arguing that the appointment was “unnecessary and would significantly harm important governmental interests, including national security interests.”
Trump’s lawyers had filed a motion for the special master appointment a little over two weeks after the Mar-A-Lago raid, arguing that it was politically motivated.
“Law enforcement is a shield that protects Americans. It cannot be used as a weapon for political purposes,” Trump’s motion said. “Therefore, we seek judicial assistance in the aftermath of an unprecedented and unnecessary raid on President Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Florida.”
According to a property receipt released shortly after the Mar-a-Lago raid, items seized include “Miscellaneous Top Secret Documents,” “Leatherbound box of documents,” and “Various classified/TS/SCI documents.”
Judge Cannon had previously indicated that she was in favor of appointing a special master. She ultimately gave both sides until September 9 to propose candidates for the position.