Court Strikes Down Appointment of Special Master to Review Trump Records

A federal appeals court terminated the special master review of the plethora of documents seized from former president Donald Trump’s Florida estate. 

The decision marks a decisive defeat for Trump as judges opine the request should never have been granted in the first place. 

The US court of appeals for the 11th circuit ruled to remove a lower-court judge’s order, which granted Trump’s request for an independent arbiter. It paves the way for the Department of Justice to regain access to the entirety of the materials for use in the criminal investigation surrounding Trump. 

The request by Trump was granted by a judge that he himself appointed. Judge Aileen Cannon was appointed by Trump and gave an exceptional defense to her appointer on account of his status as a former president. 

It is unlikely to be overturned in the event of an appeal. The appeals court wrote in a unanimous 23-page opinion that the law is clear. 

“We cannot write a rule that allows any subject of a search warrant to block government investigations after the execution of the warrant. Nor can we write a rule that allows only former presidents to do so.” 

With this ruling, the lower court judge’s ruling has been removed. Federal prosecutors can now use these unclassified documents that were found at mar-a-largo in the criminal investigation. They can be used in addition to the documents that were marked classified, which the department had previously regained access to in an earlier appeal. 

Trump will likely be looking for options to change this ruling, experts said. But the only way that Trump can appeal is by doing so through the Supreme Court 

A Trump spokesperson made a statement after the ruling, saying that the decision does not address Trump’s issues. 

However, according to legal experts, the decision made by the court was not at all surprising given the extent of skepticism expressed by court systems across the U.S. for the fact Trump was given the special master review in general. 

Trump sought the appointment of a special master to examine the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago – including 103 bearing classified markings – shortly after the FBI searched the resort on the basis that some of the materials could be subject to potential privilege protections.

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