The Department of Justice's appeal of their earlier loss to the former President was quickly and decisively dismissed on Thursday as the requested Special Master was appointed
On Thursday, a federal judge said she could not accept the Justice Department's claim that Donald Trump does not "have a possessory interest" in some documents that were seized from Mar-a-Lago just because they were, at one time, classified government records, without further review by a third party.
Judge Aileen M. Cannon of the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida appointed a special master to review more than 11,000 documents seized from Mar-a-Lago in August and unilaterally rejected the DOJ's appeal that would have allowed the department to continue to use a set of classified records as part of its criminal investigation during that review.
As part of her reasoning, Judge Cannon wrote in her decision that her court can't accept the department's claims that Trump should not have had the classified documents until the review by a special master is completed.
"The Court does not find it appropriate to accept the Government's conclusions on these important and disputed issues without further review by a neutral third party in an expedited and orderly fashion," Cannon wrote.
Raymond Dearie, a former Chief Judge of the US District Court for the Eastern District Court of New York, was appointed to be the third-party reviewer. Cannon has given a deadline of November 30 to complete the review.
In her decision, Cannon, who was appointed by Trump, also wrote that she couldn't accept the Justice Department's argument that Trump doesn't have a "plausible claim of privilege" of the classified documents without a third-party review.
Legal experts have previously raised doubts around Cannon's judgment that Trump may have executive privilege over the records since the government owns the documents and since the Biden administration has declined to assert privilege over them.
Cannon's order does however allow for the government to continue to review the documents "for purposes of intelligence classification and national security assessments."
The judge went on to cite descriptions of "media leaks" in rejecting a Justice Department demand to resume part of its probe into former President Donald Trump's handling of records marked classified that FBI agents retrieved from his Mar-a-Lago resort last month.
In the ruling, US District Court Judge Aileen Cannon put a halt to the department's investigation for the duration of the special master review, saying that no charges can be brought against Trump using the retrieved documents in the meantime. In her ruling, she suggested that the government would not "suffer an irreparable injury" to its probe due to a delay in the review.
But the judge did suggest that alleged "leaks to the media" posed a genuine threat.
"There has been no actual suggestion by the Government of any identifiable emergency or imminent disclosure of classified information arising from Plaintiff's allegedly unlawful retention of the seized property," Cannon wrote. "Instead, and unfortunately, the unwarranted disclosures that float in the background have been leaks to the media after the underlying seizure."
Cannon previously noted concerns about media leaks in a prior ruling on the matter.
Meanwhile, Trump, himself, has been the most outspoken commentator on the case, posting frequent social media updates about the search and subsequent legal process.
Trump has denied wrongdoing and said the DOJ's actions are political.
In the ruling, Cannon also appointed a special master who will help review the 100 or so documents in question — effectively ignoring DOJ's insistence that the records contain such sensitive defense information that they could impact national security. However, most experts agree that if the documents in question were in fact that critical to national security, the very FBI agents who seized them would have been violating the law by doing so.
The DOJ had requested the most sensitive documents be turned over directly to investigators as part of an ongoing criminal probe into how the former president handled the materials. The agency last week appealed Cannon's previous order to appoint a special master and threatened to seek an emergency stay from the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta if she did not agree to delay aspects of her ruling by Thursday night.
The most recent ruling is yet another disappointment for federal prosecutors who continue to ring the alarm bell about the sensitive nature of the documents discovered at Trump's personal residence, even though the alleged sensitive nature of the documents in question becomes more doubtful with each passing day.
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This non-satirical, non-biased, and fully attributed article was compiled by the accredited and degreed veteran investigative reporter Kurt Dillon. It is comprised of information compiled from the following sources: The Associated Press, Reuters, and the US Court of Appeals.
Compiled by Chief Political Correspondent Kurt Dillon – Because the Truth Matters!