Judge grants Trump’s request to appoint special master to review documents

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A U.S. judge on Monday granted Donald Trump’s request to appoint a “special master” to independently review material seized during an FBI raid on his Florida home, dealing a blow to prosecutors.

Government lawyers had opposed Trump’s request, arguing that appointing a special master to screen privileged material could harm national security, and was also unnecessary because a team had already conducted a check.

The decision could delay the investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents and is a boost for the former president, who denounced the Aug. 8 raid as “one of the most egregious attacks on democracy in the world.” ‘history of our country’, and denied any wrongdoing. .

Judge Aileen Cannon wrote in her order that “a special master will be appointed to review seized property, manage and make recommendations on lien claims, and assess claims for the return of property.”

The ruling – which temporarily bars the government from reviewing or using documents seized in the raid – made an exception for “intelligence classification and national security assessments”.

The judge gave both sides until Friday to draw up a list of candidates for the post of special master.

The Justice Department is “reviewing the notice and will consider appropriate next steps in the ongoing litigation,” spokesman Anthony Coley said in a statement.

Trump is facing mounting legal pressure, with the Justice Department saying top secret documents were “likely withheld” to hamper an FBI investigation into Trump’s potential mishandling of classified documents.

When agents searched Trump’s resort at Mar-a-Lago, they found documents so sensitive that “even FBI counterintelligence staff and DOJ reviewing attorneys demanded additional clearances.” before being allowed to review certain documents,” a government court filing said.

“Highly Classified”

The FBI raid came after a review of “highly classified” records that Trump eventually turned over to authorities in January after months of back and forth with the National Archives and Records Administration.

The 15 boxes handed over by Trump contained 184 documents marked as confidential, secret or top secret.

After being prompted by the FBI, Trump’s lawyer eventually turned over 38 additional classified documents – and provided “sworn certification” that they represented the final document.

But the FBI then discovered “multiple sources of evidence” showing that classified documents remained at Mar-a-Lago.

Trump reacted to the judge’s ruling on Monday, saying on his Truth Social platform, “Now that the FBI and DOJ have been caught up in a massive and pivotal election scam, will they change the results of the 2020 presidential election?” They should!!!”

Attorney General Merrick Garland said he personally approved of the Mar-a-Lago raid and that the decision on whether Trump is charged with a crime is ultimately up to him.

Bill Barr, who served in the same position during Trump’s presidency, said the government appeared justified in raiding Trump’s home and that he suspected authorities had “good” evidence of obstruction.

In addition to the document probe, Trump faces investigations in New York into his business practices, as well as legal scrutiny over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results and the Jan. 6 attack. 2021 against the US Capitol by his supporters. .

Trump was impeached for a historic second time by the House of Representatives after the Capitol riot – he was charged with inciting insurrection – but was acquitted by the Senate.

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