Retired Judge Raymond Deere will serve as a special lead reviewing documents the FBI seized from Mar-a-Lago last month, as a federal judge on Thursday ordered to deny the Justice Department’s request to allow prosecutors to view classified documents while Deere does his work. 11-week review – although the Justice Department is expected to appeal the decision.
U.S. District Court Judge Elaine M. Cannon Deere was appointed after former President Donald Trump’s legal team recommended him for the job and the Justice Department said it was a satisfactory choice.
The Department of Justice asked Cannon to disqualify about 100 classified documents from an earlier order that prevented the government from reviewing seized Mar-A-Lago records so that a private master — or a court-appointed third party reviewing the documents for premium material — could terminate his employment.
Trump’s lawyers argued that the court should not agree to the Justice Department’s request, claiming that the government could not determine whether all documents marked as classified were actually classified, because Trump could have declassified them — but the filing did not say whether he did. Already or not.
Cannon eventually sided with Trump in the classified records, writing that she “does not find it appropriate to accept the government’s conclusions about [the documents] without additional review by an impartial third party in a prompt and orderly manner.”
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The Justice Department has already said that if Cannon does not agree to the agency’s request, it will appeal the matter to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. It is now likely to do so, although it is unclear how this court – which includes the majority of Trump-appointed judges – will deliver its ruling. The ongoing court battle and appeal process is likely to slow the Justice Department’s investigation into the seized Mar-A-Lago documents, which Vox indicated could take months or years to be resolved in court.
Trump asked Cannon to appoint a special master two weeks after FBI investigators searched Mar-a-Lago in connection with his ongoing investigation into Trump’s retention of White House documents at his Florida home. The government recovered more than 11,000 documents during the search and accused the former president of obstructing its investigation, alleging that Trump kept the documents – including classified material – in Mar-a-Lago even after issuing a subpoena asking him to turn over the classified documents. During. The materials seized include highly classified documents and reportedly include details of other countries’ nuclear capabilities, and legal experts suspect he could have declassified the documents without following appropriate procedures. Cannon ruled on September 5 that a special master should be appointed even though the Justice Department argued that would be unnecessary and delay its investigation, arguing that the special master was necessary because some of Trump’s personal property was also seized and to prevent him from suffering “reputational damage”. Her ruling sparked widespread criticism from legal experts, who cited her legal grounds for The New York Times as “extremely problematic”, “radical” and “laughingly bad”.
Justice Department asks court to stop special lord from reviewing Trump’s Mar-A-Lago classified documents (Forbes)
Trump opposes Justice Department’s request to bar the special lord from accessing classified documents (Forbes)
Judge along with Trump gives a special master to review Mar-A-Lago documents (Forbes)