BREAKING NEWS: Appeals court STOPS special master from reviewing Trump documents taken in Mar-a-Lago raid – in profit for Justice Department
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals harshly reprimanded Trump-appointed Judge Aileen Cannon, ordering she made a mistake when she appointed a “special master” to sort through government documents seized at Mar-a-Lago.
The unanimous decision of a three-judge panel halts the review of hundreds of classified and other documents seized during an FBI raid on the president’s private club during a Justice Department investigation.
It’s a major victory for the Justice Department, whose lawyers were stunned by the original decision and already succeeded in allowing the government to use seized classified documents in its ongoing investigation.
“The law is clear. We cannot write a rule that allows a subject of a search warrant to block government investigations after the execution of the search warrant. Nor can we write a rule that only allows former presidents to do this,” the court wrote.
President Donald Trump suffered another setback as the Court of Appeals ruled against an order to create a ‘special master’ to review material seized at Mar-a-Lago
It said this would “violate the fundamental restrictions of the separation of powers.”
The court ruled that the district court judge had “improperly exercised equitable jurisdiction” and dismissed the proceedings.
Trump has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and attacked the FBI’s search of his home as part of a “witch hunt” against him.
Judge Aileen Cannon was nominated by Trump and confirmed weeks before he left office
The search came after months of back-and-forth between Trump’s team and officials with the National Archives and Records Administration over material removed from the White House when Trump left office.
The FBI finally raided the property in August after getting a court to sign a search warrant.
Trump’s lawyers had argued that a special master was needed to sort out potential privilege claims — citing both attorney-client privilege and executive privilege.
But the administration was already sifting through materials to filter out all attorney-client material, and the Justice Department said it was President Joe Biden who had the authority to assert privileges.
The FBI raided Mar-a-Lago under subpoena after obtaining a warrant
The FBI says it found numerous documents marked “secret” at the president’s club in Florida
FBI agents raided Mar-a-Lago in August looking for government materials
Two of the judges on the three-judge panel had already ruled in favor of the government. All were nominated by Republicans.
Cannon had appointed New York senior judge Raymond Dearie to sift through the materials, and work began even as the two sides battled for the decision in court.
That fight came after Trump filed a lawsuit in federal court in Florida. Cannon also ruled that the FBI should not use the seized material in their investigation, pending the work of the special master. A panel of the Court of Appeal ruled against that decision in September.
It was just the latest legal battle against Trump in recent days.
After a years-long legal saga, the House Ways and Means Committee finally obtained Trump’s tax filing information this week after the Supreme Court declined to intervene, allowing rulings from lower courts to stand. The panel now has six years of its return.
Prosecutors entered closing arguments in a lawsuit against Trump and his company before a New York jury on Thursday, saying his company “cultivated a culture of fraud and deceit” by handing out perks to mask their full compensation.