Justice Department to Fight Judge on Trump Special Master

Prosecutors will appeal ruling to have outside party review documents taken from Mar-a-Lago
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 8, 2022 3:30 PM CDT
Justice Department to Appeal Judge's Ruling on Trump Files
Pages from a Department of Justice court filing on Aug. 30, 2022.   (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

The Justice Department has decided to appeal a Florida judge's decision to have an outside party, called a special master, assess the documents FBI agents removed from former President Donald Trump's home. The department plans to take the case to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Washington Post reports. On Monday, US District Judge Aileen Cannon granted Trump's request for a special master to review the thousands of documents to decide whether attorney-client privilege or executive privilege applies to them. That step would delay the government's investigation of the former president's handling of the documents, the Justice Department had argued.

The government said it's already reviewed the files. Trump's team argued that having an outside expert do it would increase public faith in the investigation. The judge agreed in her ruling that having a special master would add to the perception of fairness. The Justice Department also on Thursday asked Cannon to suspend her ruling that the documents can't be used for now in the investigation, per the AP, citing possible harm to national security. The vagueness of that part of her ruling has brought a halt to intelligence agencies' assessment of potential damage caused by the documents' presence at Mar-a-Lago, the filing said. The next step will be the filing of a detailed brief by prosecutors with the 11th Circuit Court in Atlanta. (Bill Barr is among those critical of the judge's decision.)

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