Judge Leaning Toward Appointing Special Master in Mar-a-Lago Search
A federal judge on Saturday announced her "preliminary intent to appoint a special master" to review records seized by the FBI during its raid of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home earlier this month.
President Trump and his legal team requested there be a special master appointed, citing the "exceptional circumstances."
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, did not issue a blanket order for the special master, but instead said she had a “preliminary intent” to do so after hearing arguments she scheduled for Thursday in her West Palm Beach court room.
The Justice Department did not comment.
If Cannon grants Trump's request, the special master would be in charge of reviewing documents for issues of privilege — not the highly sensitive records at the heart of the government's investigation. Trump's legal filing also sought protection for documents covered by executive privilege that applies to presidents, but since he's no longer in the White House, that legal protection does not automatically apply to these records.
On Friday, another federal judge, Bruce Reinhart, released a heavily redacted copy of the search warrant affidavit detailing how FBI agents in mid-May had found 184 unique documents that had classification markings. The 36-page document stated that 25 documents were marked as “TOP SECRET,” 67 documents marked as “confidential” and 92 marked “secret” — all of which were contained in boxes in Mar-a-Lago. The affidavit said some of the documents had markings that designated intelligence gathered by “clandestine human sources,” such as CIA officer reports or information related to the Defense Intelligence Agency.