A federal judge in Florida was presented arguments by lawyers for both the Justice Department and former President Donald Trump, on whether a special master should be assigned to review documents seized from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. Judge Aileen Cannon did not immediately rule if a third party should be assigned to determine whether the documents seized from Trump’s Palm Beach, Fla. estate contained possibly privileged information, but said she would issue a written ruling later. Cannon on Thursday said she would consider allowing the intelligence community to continue to review the seized documents if a special master is appointed, while also temporarily blocking the Justice Department from accessing the materials for its criminal probe.
The FBI said it recovered more than 320 classified documents from Mar-a-Lago, including 100 seized in August when agents executed a search warrant. Trump voluntarily turned over 15 boxes to the National Archives in January, and his team turned over other materials under subpoena in June. FBI agents seized another 33 boxes during the search of Mar-a-Lago.
“The government should provide to the special master and to movant a copy of the seized materials, a copy of the search warrant and an unredacted copy of the underlying application materials,” Trump’s lawyers said in a court filing Wednesday. Trump lawyer James Trusty accused the Justice Department of trying to “criminalize” the Presidential Records Act, saying: “We’ve characterized it at times as an overdue-library-book scenario where there’s a dispute — not even a dispute — but ongoing negotiations with [the National Archives] that has suddenly been transformed into a criminal investigation.”
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