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Trump documents probe: US appeals ruling on special master

Judge’s ruling will likely slow the pace of the investigation into the presence of classified documents at Donald Trump’s Florida property.

September 9, 2022
By ERIC TUCKER
9 September 2022

The Justice Department is appealing a judge’s decision to name an independent arbiter to review records seized by the FBI from former President Donald Trump’s Florida home.

US District Judge Aileen Cannon on Monday granted the Trump team’s request for a so-called special master and temporarily blocked the Justice Department from using for investigative purposes the thousands of records taken from Mar-a-Lago during the August 8 search.

That order has the likely impact of slowing the pace of the investigation into the presence of classified documents at the Florida property.

The Justice Department, which had strenuously opposed such an appointment, filed a notice of appeal Thursday, saying it was contesting the ruling to the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Cannon, a Trump appointee, said the yet-to-be-named special master will be responsible for reviewing the records from Mar-a-Lago and segregating out those that are potentially protected by attorney-client privilege or executive privilege.

The Justice Department has been investigating what it says was the unlawful retention of national defense information at Mar-a-Lago as well as efforts to obstruct the probe. It is not clear whether Trump or anyone else will face charges.

The two sides were directed to submit proposed names of a special master by Friday. That role is often filled by a lawyer or former judge.

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