Updated Sep 5, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Judge grants Trump request for special master to review Mar-a-Lago docs

 Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held at the Hilton Anatole on August 06, 2022 in Dallas, Texas

Former President Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Aug. 6. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

A federal judge on Monday accepted former President Trump's bid for a special master to review evidence seized by the FBI in the search at his Mar-a-Lago residence last month.

Driving the news: Judge Aileen Cannon ruled for a special master to be appointed "to review the seized property for personal items and documents and potentially privileged material subject to claims of attorney-client and/or executive privilege," per the filing.

  • Cannon, a Trump-appointed judge, in the order also "temporarily enjoins the government from reviewing and using the seized materials for investigative purposes pending completion of the special master’s review or further Court order."

Between the lines: "This order shall not impede the classification review and/or intelligence assessment," Cannon wrote.

The big picture: In a filing last week, Trump's legal team accused the Department of Justice of "criminalizing" his possession of presidential records.

  • "Left unchecked, the DOJ will impugn, leak, and publicize selective aspects of their investigation with no recourse for [Trump] but to somehow trust the self-restraint of currently unchecked investigators," per the court filing.

The DOJ has opposed Trump's request for the third-party attorney, citing "national security interests."

  • The DOJ also rebuked Trump's claims that the documents are shielded by attorney-client and executive privileges. The Justice Department has argued that the records belong to the government, not Trump.

What to watch: Cannon gave the DOJ and Trump's legal team until Sept. 9 to submit a filing that includes a list of proposed special master candidates.

Go deeper... Here's what we know and don't know about the Mar-a-Lago inquiry

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