According to the government’s new filing, prosecutors will provide more information later this week. But in the meantime, it notes that even before the judge’s weekend ruling, the filtering team “identified a limited set of materials that may contain privileged attorney-client information, completed the review of those materials and is in the process of following the proceedings” of the search warrant to handle any privilege disputes.
Trump’s legal team filed the request two weeks after the Aug. 8 search, calling the court-approved law enforcement action a “shockingly aggressive,” politically motivated raid. The former president’s lawyers alleged that federal authorities seized documents to which they were not entitled.
Although the judge, who was nominated for her position by Trump in 2020, said she was inclined to appoint a special master, she also said her order “should not be construed as a final decision on Plaintiff’s request.”
Trump’s Secrets: How a File Dispute Led the FBI to Search Mar-a-Lago
Federal authorities recovered about two dozen boxes of materials from Mar-a-Lago during the search, including 11 sets of classified documents, several of which were classified as top secret. Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, told congressional lawmakers on Friday that U.S. intelligence analysts will conduct an assessment of the classified material to determine the potential risk to national security if its contents were made public.
Trump’s attorneys want a special master to return any information taken from Trump’s property that is outside the scope of the search warrant, and to set aside any material that must be shielded from government scrutiny because of the privilege of the executive branch.
In her ruling on Saturday, Cannon ordered the Justice Department to file a more detailed list of the materials the FBI had taken under seal. She also asked for an update on the federal government’s review.
In the past, special masters have generally been appointed in cases of attorney’s privilege, not executive privilege.
Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Documents and the “Myth” of the Presidential Security Clearance
According to a partially redacted affidavit that was unsealed Friday, the officers conducting the Mar-a-Lago house search sought all “physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime or other items illegally possessed in violation of with three possible crimes. including part of the Espionage Act that prohibits the collection, transmission or loss of national defense information. The warrant also states the destruction of documents and the concealment or mutilation of government material.
The search is part of a criminal investigation into whether Trump and his associates seized secret government papers and failed to return all of them, despite demands from senior officials.