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Judge Grants Trump's Request for a Special Master Citing 'Unprecedented Circumstances'

09-06-2022
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Pages from a FBI property list of items seized from former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate and made public by the Department of Justice, are photographed Friday, Sept. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

In a win for former President Trump, a federal judge in Florida has granted his legal team's request for a special master to review thousands of documents, many of them classified, seized in the FBI raid of his Mar-a-Lago home last month.  
 
It's a move that temporarily blocks the government from using the materials for a criminal investigation.  
 
The decision authorizes an outside legal expert to review the records. The judge's order reveals that some of the documents taken by agents include hundreds of personal, medical and tax records which played a role in the decision.  
 
Citing "unprecedented circumstances," Judge Aileen Cannon says its necessary to ensure the "integrity of an orderly process amidst swirling allegations of bias and media leak."  
 
In a particular blow to the Justice Department, the order also says Trump can assert claims not only of attorney-client privilege, but also executive privilege.  
 
Cannon has ordered the department to stop reviewing the records as part of its criminal investigation, though she says investigators can continue conducting their review into whether the records could pose any damage to national security if exposed. 
 
The decision comes after the FBI raid found more than 11,000 government documents, more than a hundred marked classified.  
 
In her ruling, Cannon says Trump faces the "stigma" of having had his home searched, and any future indictment based on the seizure of those records would cause "reputational harm." 
 
With the midterm elections just several weeks away, Trump blasted the Biden administration at a rally this weekend to revved-up supporters. 
 
"A few weeks ago, you saw when we witnessed one of the most shocking abuses of power by any administration in American history. The shameful raid and breaking into my home Mar-a-Lago was a travesty of justice," said Trump. 
 
Meanwhile, President Biden continues to target Trump supporters on the campaign trail, hoping to turn out Democrats in force come November. 
      
"The extreme MAGA Republicans in Congress have chosen to go backwards. Full of anger, violence, hate and division. But together we can and we must choose a different path forward," said Biden.  
 
As for the judge's order, it comes despite objections by the DOJ which insists a special master is not necessary. A spokesman says it is examining the opinion and will consider appropriate next steps. 

It must submit a list of possible special master candidates by Friday. 

 

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