Judge may grant Trump’s request for special master to review documents seized by FBI

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A federal judge on Saturday indicated that former President Donald Trump wants to grant an independent “special master” request to review boxes of classified documents and other materials seized by federal authorities from his Florida resort nearly three weeks ago.

In a brief, two-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Eileen M. Cannon has given the government until Tuesday to present its arguments in the matter, when a court hearing is scheduled for Thursday in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Trump’s legal team was there Filed a claim On Monday, it asked the court to appoint an outside expert on the matter, saying the FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago home was politically motivated, excessive and “shockingly aggressive.” The former president’s attorneys said federal officials seized the records to which they were not legally entitled.

Although the judge, who was nominated to his post by Trump in 2020, appears to be willing to appoint a special master, he said his order “should not be considered a final determination of the plaintiff’s motion.”

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Federal officials seized about two dozen boxes of material from Mar-a-Lago during the search, including 11 sets of classified documents, many of them classified as top secret. Avril Haynes, Director of National Intelligence told the Congress legislators On Friday, US intelligence analysts will conduct a national security assessment and material classification review.

After Trump filed his initial request, Cannon asked him and his attorneys to clarify what they were asking the court to do in their 27-page filing and answer jurisdictional questions.

On his ruling Saturday, Cannon directed the Justice Department to submit under seal a detailed list of items seized by the FBI. He also asked for an update on the central government’s review.

Trump’s lawyers want a special master to return any information taken from Trump’s property beyond the scope of the search warrant and to set aside any material that should be shielded from government review because of executive privilege.

In the past, special master’s experts were typically appointed in attorney-client privilege cases, not administrative privilege. Also, the FBI has been reviewing the files since Aug. 8. Viewing many documents requires very high security permissions, so any special master may need such permissions to inspect them.

Here’s what’s in the partially redacted Mar-a-Lago affidavit

A step A partially redacted affidavit was unsealed Friday, agents who conducted the search are looking for all “physical documents and records” that include “evidence, contraband, fruits of a crime, or other material unlawfully possessed in violation of three potential crimes,” including gathering, abducting or losing, part of the Espionage Act. National Security Information. The warrant also cites destruction of records and concealment or destruction of government property.

The search is part of a criminal investigation into whether Trump and his aides took classified government documents and did not return them all, despite demands from senior officials.

Devlin Barrett contributed to this report.

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