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DOJ appeals special master decision


Documents seized by FBI from Mar-a-Lago

Source: Department of Justice

The Department of Justice on Thursday appealed a federal judge’s ruling to authorize a special master to review documents that the FBI seized from the Florida residence of former President Donald Trump.

The Justice Department also asked Judge Aileen Cannon to pause her related order blocking the federal government from further reviewing documents marked classified that were found during last month’s search of Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Palm Beach resort home.

The moves got here three days after Cannon approved Trump’s request for a special master to sift through the seized materials to discover personal items and records which might be protected by attorney-client privilege or executive privilege.

The DOJ had opposed that request, saying it had already accomplished a privilege review of the documents, and that a special master could harm the federal government’s national security interests.

The FBI seized greater than ten thousand government records when it raided Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8. Lots of those documents bore classification markings, including dozens of folders that were empty after they were collected by the FBI.

Cannon, who was appointed by Trump, wrote in her ruling Monday in U.S. District in southern Florida that “the country is served best by an orderly process that promotes the interest and perception of fairness.”

The DOJ’s appeal was filed on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the eleventh Circuit, which holds appellate jurisdiction over cases from district courts in Florida.

The DOJ also asked Cannon to remain her order that blocks the agency from further reviewing and using the seized documents with classification markings for criminal investigative purposes, pending the appeal. Last week, the department revealed that the FBI seized greater than 100 classified documents in the course of the raid.

The DOJ said in Thursday’s filing that it’s more likely to succeed on its appeal because it applies to the classified records, which represent a fraction of the documents that were found at Mar-a-Lago.

Trump “doesn’t and will not assert that he owns or has any possessory interest in classified records; that he has any right to have those government records returned to him; or that he can advance any plausible claims of attorney-client privilege as to such records that may bar the federal government from reviewing or using them,” the DOJ wrote.

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