DOJ Seeks to Void Trump’s Special Master Review of Papers

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is scheduled to ask a court to void the special master review examining documents seized from Donald Trump’s Florida residence and make the materials available to the criminal investigation surrounding the former president.

The hearing is particularly consequential for Trump.

If Trump is to lose, it could mark the end of the special master process. Trump has committed to delaying the investigation surrounding his potential mishandling of national security information.

The Justice Department is arguing that Trump should never have been able to get an independent arbiter because the federal judge who granted his request misapplied a four-part legal test in making her judgment. 

The judge in charge of the special master’s order was appointed by Trump, U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon. The justice department is seeking for the appeals court to reverse the entirety of Cannon’s special master order.

The department filed a 40-page brief in advance of today’s expedited afternoon hearing in the 11th circuit court of appeals.

The department also argued that the 11th circuit should terminate the injunction preventing federal investigators from examining the documents in the special master review since Trump appeared to drop his claims that some of the materials are subject to privilege protections.

At issue is the original rationale for the special master. 

Cannon determined Trump failed to satisfy the first Richey test – whether he suffered “callous disregard” to his constitutional rights when the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago – but granted Trump’s request since she felt he met additional tests.

The department – echoing the 11th circuit’s own reasoning in an earlier appeal – has said Trump’s failure to satisfy that callous disregard standard alone should have resulted in the denial of the request, though the former president’s legal team contested that interpretation.

But the department argued that even if Cannon had correctly applied Richey, she was wrong to prevent it from accessing the materials under review.

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