Updated Sep 8, 2022 - Politics & Policy

DOJ appeals judge's special master ruling in Trump case

The Department of Justice (DOJ) building on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022 in Washington, DC.
The Department of Justice building in Washington, D.C. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Department of Justice on Thursday filed a motion to appeal a federal judge's ruling to allow a special master to review evidence seized from former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence last month.

State of play: The notice of appeal comes three days after Judge Aileen Cannon ruled on Monday that a special master should 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 also said that the order "temporarily enjoins the government from reviewing and using the seized materials for investigative purposes," per the filing.
  • The DOJ and Trump's legal team have until Friday to submit a list of proposed special master candidates and outline their specific "duties and limitations."

Driving the news: The DOJ on Thursday also filed a motion for a partial stay pending appeal on Cannon's order, saying that the intelligence community's review "cannot be readily segregated from the Department of Justice’s and Federal Bureau of Investigation’s activities in connection with the ongoing criminal investigation."

  • "Moreover, the government and the public are irreparably injured when a criminal investigation of matters involving risks to national security is enjoined," the DOJ wrote in the motion for a stay.
  • "The government and the public would suffer irreparable harm absent a stay," the DOJ said.
  • Prosecutors gave the court until Sept. 15 to grant a stay and if one is not granted, "the government intends to seek relief from the Eleventh Circuit," per the filing.

Between the lines: It is not yet clear what parts of Cannon's order the DOJ is appealing — and whether it applies to the entire order or parts.

Catch up quick: The DOJ has previously opposed Trump's bid for a third-party attorney to review Mar-a-Lago documents, citing "national security interests."

  • The DOJ has also countered Trump's claims that the seized documents are protected by attorney-client and executive privileges.

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

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