US Appeal Court Rejects Ex-President Trump’s 'Special Master' Request In Mar-a-Lago Estate Documents Case

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December 3rd, 2022, 6:32 pm

The United States appellate court has rejected a "special master" request from the former president, Donald Trump to review documents seized from his Mar-a-Lago estate.
The decision is a victory for the United States Department of Justice, which is investigating whether Mr. Trump took classified documents with him when he left the White House.
The "special master" is an impartial lawyer who determines whether any of the data is protected by attorney-client or executive privilege, BBC reports.
A three-judge panel in the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit US Courts of Appeal issued the decision on Thursday after the Department of Justice challenged a September decision that granted Mr Trump's request for the particular master review.
The appeals court said in its decision that there was no "judicial authorisation to meddle in an ongoing inquiry."
"The law is clear. We cannot write a rule that allows any subject of a search warrant to block government investigations after the execution of the warrant. Nor can we write a rule that allows only former presidents to do so."
A special master review would have slowed the Department of Justice's investigation into Mr. Trump's handling of secret records since the agency would have been barred from seeing or utilising the materials until the investigation was completed.
Raymond Dearie, a 78-year-old New York judge whom Republican President Ronald Reagan nominated in 1986, was designated as the special master in his case.
It is unclear if Mr. Trump and his lawyers would appeal Thursday's decision.
Mr. Trump is being probed for allegedly taking national sensitive papers with him after leaving the White House to his private Florida property in Mar-a-Lago.
According to authorities, these documents should have been turned over to the National Archives, as is required of US presidents when they leave office.
The FBI seized 15 boxes of White House documents in January, which officials said contained "highly classified reports", some of which were "intermixed with other records" and contained Mr Trump's "handwritten notes". They also seized another 20 boxes in August.
The Department of Justice claimed that Mr Trump stole 11 sets of classified documents from the White House.
The former president denied any wrongdoing, claiming that as president, he declassified all documents and kept them safely at his Mar-a-Lago estate.
Mr Trump's lawyers argued in their request for a special master that some of the documents are protected by attorney-client privilege, which means they can be withheld under a US law that allows people to keep conversations with their lawyers private.


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