By Ophelia Garrett
The Washington Post reports that “A federal judge will appoint a special master to sift through nearly 13,000 documents and items the FBI seized from Donald Trump’s Florida residence and identify any that might be protected by attorney-client or executive privilege, according to a court order posted Monday.” According to the judge’s ruling, the prosecution cannot use the items as evidence in court until they are inspected by an outside expert.
According to the New York Post, this decision by US District Judge Aileen Cannon is a win for Trump and his legal team. The decision also came despite objections from the Justice Department, which argued it had already completed a review of potentially privileged documents.
The judge ordered that until the special master can complete a review, the DOJ must stop reviewing and using the seized documents as part of its criminal investigation. However, she will allow US intelligence officials to continue a classification review and national security risk assessment.
U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon said in her order that the appointment of a special master was necessary, “in addition to being deprived of potentially significant personal documents, which alone creates a real harm, plaintiff faces an unquantifiable potential harm by way of improper disclosure of sensitive information to the public. To ensure at least the appearance of fairness and integrity under the extraordinary circumstances presented. ”
Trump issued a statement Monday in the wake of the judge’s ruling, saying, “it takes courage and ‘guts’ to fight a totally corrupt Department of ‘Justice’ and the FBI. They are being pushed to do the wrong thing by many sinister outside sources,” he continued. “Until impartiality, wisdom, fairness, and courage are shown by them, our Country can never come back or recover—it will be reduced to being a Third World Nation!”
“The Court hereby authorizes the appointment of a special master to review the seized property for personal items and documents and potentially privileged material subject to claims of attorney-client and/or executive privilege.” – U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon