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Federal Judge Says Yes to Trump’s Special Master Request to Review Materials Seized by FBI at Mar-a-Lago

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federal judge ruled on Monday that a special reviewer can look over the materials seized from former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. 

The ruling is sure to slow down and hamper the investigation by the FBI and Justice Department into Trump’s stealing sensitive documents from the White House and hoarding them at his residence and country club.  The Justice Department is considering charges of obstruction and mishandling of government secrets. 

Federal District Court Judge Aileen M. Cannon offered a 24-page ruling, and said that a “special master” would need to look at the documents before the Justice Department could do any further investigations. 

That means that federal prosecutors would not be able to use any of the documents as pieces of evidence, until it is determined whether the former president retained the documents legally. 

Judge Cannon said she made the decision in order to ensure “fairness” and “integrity, ” presumably meaning fairness to Trump. 

A special master is an independent person, most likely an attorney, appointed by a judge, who will review the materials and determine what can be used in an investigation. 

The order does not hamper the Office of the Director of National Intelligence from doing their job of determining whether there is any security risk involved in having the documents at Mar-a-Lago. 

The Justice Department may choose to appeal the ruling. 

“The United States is examining the opinion and will consider appropriate next steps in the ongoing litigation,” Anthony Coley, a department spokesman, said.

There are nearly 11,000 documents that were removed from Mar-a-Lago on August 8, many labeled classified.

The special master will have to review and evaluate the documents to determine if any are protected by attorney-client privilege, and also to see if any are protected by executive privilege. 

The Justice Department commented last week that allowing a special master to do the review would be “unprecedented” and shouldn’t even be happening because Mr. Trump is no longer president. (According to the 2020 election results.)

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