Judge delays ruling on Trump request for review of documents

Judge delays ruling on Trump request for review of documents


A federal judge said Thursday she would rule later on former President Donald Trump’s demand for an independent legal expert to review top secret documents seized in an unprecedented search of his Florida resort estate.

U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon, a conservative Trump appointee, said she will issue a written ruling to determine whether to appoint a so-called special master to determine if some of the documents could be covered by the attorney-client privilege.

Cannon did not say when the ruling might be made.

During the hearing, Trump’s lawyers shockingly compared the explosive FBI investigation into hundreds of classified documents to an “overdue library book.”

Lawyers for Trump say the review is needed so prosecutors would be barred from using any documents deemed privileged in their probe into Trump’s mishandling of top secret information.

The former president has also requested the return of some “highly personal information” such as diaries or journals that were seized in the Aug. 8 search of the waterfront Mar-a-Lago resort.

The Justice Department countered in a bombshell filing that Trump has no right to any of the documents because they belong to the government, not him.

DOJ officials say the special master is not needed because investigators completed a review of potentially privileged records before Trump’s lawyers filed their demand and identified “a limited set of materials that potentially contain attorney-client privileged information.”

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Prosecutors believe Trump’s team is seeking to stall their probe. Another federal judge approved the search warrant for Mar-a-Lago after finding probable cause for violations of the Espionage Act and obstruction of justice.

Cannon had said on Saturday, before the latest arguments in the matter, that her “preliminary intent” was to appoint a special master. It was not clear whether she might make a final determination Thursday or how her view might be affected by the fact that the Justice Department says it has already reviewed potentially privileged documents.

It was also not clear who might serve as that outside expert. In some past high-profile cases, the role has been filled by a former federal judge.

Cannon was nominated by Trump in 2020 and confirmed by the Senate 56-21 later that year. She is a former assistant U.S. attorney in Florida, handling mainly criminal appeals.

With News Wire Services



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