A federal judge Monday granted in part former President Donald Trump’s request to appoint a special master to review documents the FBI seized from Mar-a-Lago. It is a significant blow to federal authorities.
“The Court hereby authorizes the appointment of a special master to review the seized property for personal items and documents and potentially privileged material subject to claims of attorney-client and/or executive privilege,” the order states.
The decision by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon came despite the objections of the Justice Department, which said an outside legal expert was not necessary in part because officials had already completed their review of potentially privileged documents, the Associated Press reports.
Trump’s legal team last month asked Cannon to appoint a special master in the wake of the raid, arguing that the DOJ’s “Privilege Review Team” should not be the final arbiter of whether its actions were proper in such a high-profile case and that the review team’s scope was too narrow.
“We need to take a deep breath. These are presidential records in the hands of the 45th president at a place which was used frequently for work during his presidency,” Trump attorney Christopher Kise said in a hearing Thursday.
The judge had previously signaled her inclination to approve a special master, asking a department lawyer during arguments this month, “What is the harm?”
BREAKING: Judge Cannon has ruled—wrongly— that a special master should be appointed to review the documents obtained from Mar-a-Lago for executive and other privileges. Because this includes an injunction vs investigative use, DOJ can and should appeal.— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) September 5, 2022
More to follow. pic.twitter.com/ZnK8SRtQld
The appointment might slow the pace of the department’s investigation into the presence of top-secret information at Mar-a-Lago, but it is unlikely to affect any investigative decisions or the ultimate outcome of the probe.
With reporting from Fox News, Newsmax and Associated Press