Former President Donald Trump won a significant legal victory on Monday when a federal judge in Florida approved his request for a special master to examine the records that the Justice Department had taken from his Mar-a-Lago resort.
Trump appointee U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon given the go-ahead for a neutral third party, not the government, to decide what information is protected or may be personal goods unrelated to the DOJ’s criminal investigation into possible classified information handling violations.
She wrote in her decision, “The Court is cognizant that limits on criminal prosecutions are not generally preferred, but finds that these exceptional circumstances call for a lengthy pause to allow for objective, third-party review to ensure a just process with proper protections.”
Last month, Mr. Trump’s legal team asked the court to appoint a special master after arguing that the FBI had taken documents covered by the attorney-client and executive privileges in addition to confiscating personal property.
Because the materials taken belonged to the government, the DOJ previously argued that Mr. Trump lacked the right for a third party to review their work. They also claimed that a special master would be “unnecessary and significantly harm government interests, including national security interests” by delaying the investigation.
According to the decision of Judge Cannon, the unnamed special master would examine “the confiscated property for personal items and papers and potentially privileged material subject to claims of attorney-client and/or executive privilege.”
The court’s ruling required the government to temporarily halt its review of the materials seized from Mr. Trump’s South Florida home as they relate to the criminal investigation, but it allowed intelligence officials to carry on with their analysis to see if the national security of the nation may have been compromised.
None of the records should be given back to the former president, according to the judge. The DOJ stated on Monday that it is deciding what to do next.
In a filing last week, Mr. Trump’s attorneys contended that “unchecked investigators” could not be relied upon to carry out an impartial probe. Although the former president had not yet made a public statement regarding the news, he recently attacked the investigation in a series of posts on his social networking site on Monday morning.
Using “Crooked Elections, No Borders, a Weaponized Justice Department & FBI,” he claimed that the FBI “riffled through the living quarters of my 16-year-old son, Barron, and the loved and respected former First Lady of the United States, Melania,” and that the U.S. “is rapidly becoming a Third World Nation.”
Joe Biden was referred to as a “enemy of the state” by Mr. Trump over the weekend during his first rally following the Mar-a-Lago search.
The recent stunning abuse of authority by an administration in American history, Mr. Trump said, “was one of the most startling abuses of power by any administration in American history. There could be no more vivid example of the very serious threats to American freedom.” “The dishonorable search and breaking into my Mar-a-Lago residence was a mockery of justice.”