A federal judge on Monday granted ex-President Donald Trump’s request for a third-party special master to review the documents the FBI seized from his Mar-a-Lago resort that Trump has claimed are shielded by attorney-client and executive privilege.
District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, stated that an independent special master would be appointed to “manage assertions of privilege and make recommendations thereon, and evaluate claims for return of property.”
Cannon asserted in her order that “the country is served best by an orderly process that promotes the interest and perception of fairness.”
“As a function of Plaintiff’s former position as President of the United States, the stigma associated with the subject seizure is in a league of its own,” the judge wrote. “A future indictment, based to any degree on property that ought to be returned, would result in reputational harm of a decidedly different order of magnitude.”
Cannon also blocked the Justice Department from continuing its review of the documents in its criminal investigation “pending resolution of the special master’s review process as determined by this Court.”
However, the judge ruled that the government would still be allowed to sort through the materials “for purposes of intelligence classification and national security assessments.”
After Cannon issued her ruling, Justice Department spokesperson Anthony Coley said that the DOJ is “examining the opinion and will consider appropriate next steps in the ongoing litigation.”
Cannon’s order came several days after she unsealed a detailed list of the materials the FBI had seized during the raid last month, which included classified documents.
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