(breitbart) – A federal judge has sided with former President Donald Trump and announced her “preliminary intent to appoint a special master” to review the documents seized by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago earlier this month.
A “special master” would review documents and materials to determine which are protected by attorney-client privilege and executive privilege, barring the Department of Justice (DOJ) from using them.
The decision by Judge Aileen M. Cannon, a Trump appointee, comes less than one week after Trump’s legal team filed a motion seeking an independent review of the seized documents. Trump’s motion filed Monday argued the FBI raid was a political hit job against him by President Joe Biden’s DOJ.
“Law enforcement is a shield that protects Americans. It cannot be used as a weapon for political purposes,” Trump’s motion said. “Therefore, we seek judicial assistance in the aftermath of an unprecedented and unnecessary raid on President Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Florida.”
As Breitbart News reported:
Trump’s Motion for Judicial Oversight And Additional Relief requests the court appoint a Special Master, prohibit the FBI from further review of the seized documents until the Special Master is appointed, order the government to release a more detailed property receipt, and return any item seized that was not within the search warrant’s scope.
Judge Cannon’s decision on Saturday was based on Trump’s submissions and “the exceptional circumstances presented,” Fox News reported.
“Pursuant to Rule 53(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Court’s inherent authority, and without prejudice to the parties’ objections, the Court hereby provides notice of its preliminary intent to appoint a special master in this case,” Cannon wrote in a filing.
The DOJ has opposed the appointment of a special master.
Judge Cannon’s decision also comes one day after Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who approved the search warrant, released a heavily redacted version of the underlying affidavit used to justify the FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago.
The federal government found “probable cause” to believe Trump improperly stored classified documents at Mar-a-Lago based on the contents of 15 boxes that Trump voluntarily provided to the federal government.
Trump doubled down on his claims that the FBI raid was “done for political purposes” in a statement released shortly after news of Judge Cannon’s decision broke.
“Federal Judge in Florida just took over the Presidential Records Act case, including the unprecedented, unnecessary, and unannounced FBI/DOJ Raid (Break-In!) of my home, Mar-a-Lago,” Trump posted on Truth Social. “This assault was done for political purposes just prior to the Midterm Elections (and 2024, of course!). It is a disgrace to our now Third World Nation!”
Judge Cannon ordered DOJ attorneys to file a response two days before a September 1 hearing and provide, “under seal,” a “more detailed Receipt for Property specifying all property seized pursuant to the search warrant executed on August 8, 2022.”
The property receipt released shortly after the Mar-a-Lago raid only mentions nondescript items, including “Miscellaneous Top Secret Documents,” “Leatherbound box of documents,” and “Various classified/TS/SCI documents.”
Judge Cannon also ordered DOJ attorneys to file under seal a “particularized notice indicating the status” of its review of the seized property, “including any filter review conducted by the privilege review team and any dissemination of materials beyond the privilege review team,” Fox News reported.
Judge Cannon further requested the DOJ to provide its “respective and particularized positions on the duties and responsibilities of a prospective special master, along with any other considerations pertinent to the appointment of a special master in this case.”
A senior law enforcement official told Fox News that the DOJ’s “filter” team has been going through the seized documents so far to ensure the records did not include any documents protected by the attorney-client privilege.
Five of the boxes taken by the FBI during the Mar-a-Lago raid reportedly included information that Trump’s team claims are protected by attorney-client privilege, Fox News reported.
“Oh great! It has just been learned that the FBI, in its now famous raid of Mar-a-Lago, took boxes of privileged ‘attorney-client’ material, and also ‘executive’ privileged material, which they knowingly should not have taken,” Trump posted on Truth Social.
“By copy of this TRUTH, I respectfully request that these documents be immediately returned to the location from which they were taken. Thank you!”