Justice Department to appeal judge’s ruling on special master in search of Trump

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department will appeal a judge’s ruling that a special master must look into documents seized during the search of former President Donald Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago, according to a notice filed Thursday.

The Justice Department will file their appeals with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, the filing said.

The Justice Department also asked for a partial stay of the judge’s ruling while the appeal is pending, because “the government and the public are irreparably injured as a criminal investigation into matters posing risks to national security” is closed. imposed.

U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon, a 41-year-old Trump appointee who was confirmed at the end of the Trump administration in the Southern District of Florida, granted Trump’s request for a special master on Monday. Her ruling was widely reported by the legal community, especially given her unprecedented decision to grant special authority not only over documents protected by attorney-client privilege, but also over Trump’s alleged claims of executive privilege.

“The classification marks on the face of the documents indicate that it is government data, not the plaintiff’s personal data,” the government wrote on Thursday. “The government’s review of these documents does not make any plausible claims about attorneys’ privileges of nondisclosure because such classified documents do not include communication between the plaintiff and his private attorneys and the use of the classified documents at issue here.”

When the FBI issued a search warrant in Mar-a-Lago a month ago, the Justice Department said it had found more than 11,000 pages of government documents that were in the custody of the National Archives under the Presidential Records Act. They also found hundreds of pages of classified documents, despite a Trump attorney stating that the former president no longer had classified documents after handing over 38 classified documents in June in response to a grand jury subpoena. Earlier in the year, Trump handed boxes of documents to the National Archives containing more than 700 pages of classified records.

The administration argued that there was evidence that the Trump team “hidden and removed” additional classified documents stored at Mar-a-Lago before the FBI searched in August.

A federal magistrate judge found probable cause that evidence of crimes would be found at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate and signed the FBI’s order to search the property. In fact, the FBI has found more than 100 classified records that Trump was not allowed to have, the DOJ said in a lawsuit last week, along with the more than 11,000 government documents that actually belonged in the National Archives.

Daniel Barnes and Ken Dilanian contributed.