Judge approves Trump’s request for a ‘special master’ to review material seized from Mar-a-Lago. CNN Politics


A federal judge approves former President Donald Trump Demand To appoint a “special master” to review material seized from Mar-a-Lago by the FBI last month.

Trump-appointed District Judge Eileen Cannon’s decision marks a significant victory for the former president.

“As a function of plaintiff’s prior status as President of the United States, the stigma associated with subject forfeiture is in a league of its own,” Cannon wrote. “Future indictment, on the basis of property to any degree to which it should be returned, would damage the reputation of a decidedly different order of magnitude.”

Cannon ordered that a third-party attorney from outside the government be brought in to review material retrieved from Trump’s home and resort in Florida. It also prohibits the Justice Department from continuing to review materials confiscated from Mar-a-Lago “until the completion of the Special Master’s review or further court order.”

Both sides have until Friday to nominate a particular master candidate and his specific duties.

Trump’s lawyers argued that a special master was needed because they did not trust the Justice Department to identify the privileged material that would need to be excluded from the ongoing criminal investigation.

Federal prosecutors will likely appeal the decision.

The Justice Department has said its own “filter team” has already completed its review of the Mar-a-Lago documents — and has found a small set of attorney-client privileged records.

The judge said the special master would be tasked with reviewing “seized property for personal items and documents and potentially privileged material subject to claims of attorney-client and/or executive privilege”.

However, the classification review and intelligence assessment being carried out by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence will be allowed to continue.

The Justice Department also obtained “correspondents related to taxes,” and medical documents during the search, according to the Privileges team’s report that is sealed but described by Cannon on Monday.

Canon noted that lawyers for the Justice Department acknowledged that it had caused some “[p]Personal effects without evidence value, as well as 500 pages of content potentially subject to attorney-client privilege.

She wrote that Trump’s “personal interest and need in the confiscated property” was a reason to rule in favor of Trump’s requests for a special master.

Canon also said that the Privilege Review Team’s report contained “at least two instances in which members of the Investigation Team were exposed to material that was then passed on to the Privileges Review Team.”

“Those examples alone, even if completely unintentional, raise questions about the adequacy of the filter,” she wrote.

Cannon set a deadline Friday for Trump’s lawyers and Justice Department prosecutors to negotiate the special master’s “duties and limitations” and submit a list of potential candidates to serve in the role.

She also wants both parties to propose a program for the Special Master to review and explain how the individual will be compensated for their work.

“The exact details and mechanics of this review process will be decided expeditiously upon receipt of the parties’ proposals,” Cannon wrote.

If both parties do not agree on the parameters of the soon-to-be-appointed Special Master, they should explain their differences in a court filing.

This story is breaking and will be updated.