The Department of Justice (DOJ) was prohibited from using the materials for “investigative purposes” by a federal judge on Monday. The judge also granted the request of former President Donald Trump for a special master to assess the things the FBI had taken from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property.
A special master will be assigned to analyze the confiscated goods and ascertain if any are personal things or anything that may be protected by presidential privilege or attorney-client privilege, according to a decision made by Trump-nominated U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon.
While the special master conducts its examination, Cannon further decreed that the DOJ must cease using any of Trump’s belongings for “investigative purposes,” but added that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence may conduct its “classification assessment and/or intelligence assessment.”
In accepting Trump’s motion, the court, according to Cannon, was “mindful of the need to provide at least the impression of justice and honesty given the unique circumstances presented.”
She continued by saying there was a chance the DOJ might release information that would be harmful to the former president.
“Plaintiff confronts an unmeasurable potential injury by means of wrongful revelation of sensitive information to the general public in addition to being deprived of potentially important personal records, which alone causes a substantial harm,” Cannon said.
The DOJ protested to Trump’s request for the special master, which led to the ruling.
Last Monday, the DOJ said that Trump’s request was unwarranted and would seriously jeopardize critical federal interests, including national security concerns.
About two weeks after the Mar-a-Lago search, Trump’s attorneys submitted an application for the special master, portraying the raid as political rather than fair.
“Law enforcement serves as a cover for Americans. It cannot be employed as a tool for political ends,” according to Trump’s move. “Therefore, in the wake of an extraordinary and unnecessary raid on President Trump’s residence at Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Florida, we request judicial help.”
Items confiscated included “various classified/TS/SCI materials,” a “leatherbound box of documents,” and “miscellaneous top secret documents,” according to a property receipt made public shortly after the Mar-a-Lago raid.
It was only a matter of time since Cannon had earlier stated her desire to do so that the special master’s approval was granted.
Both parties were given until September 9 by the judge to suggest candidates for the role of a special master.
Trump’s call for a special master, according to media skeptics, would be “too late” because the DOJ has had the information for weeks. The court disagreed, but she made a point of pointing out that any claims relating to executive privilege or the Federal Records Act would have to be made and argued in Washington, DC.