Posted originally on the conservative tree house on September 5, 2022 | sundance
U.S. District Judge from the Southern District of Florida, Aileen M. Cannon, has ordered a special master to “review the seized property, manage assertions of privilege and make recommendations thereon, and evaluate claims for return of property,” related to the FBI raid on Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. [pdf Ruling Here]
There are interesting aspects outlined within the 24-page ruling that deconstruct the position of the Dept of Justice and media, including a footnote [fn5] stating Trump lawyers asked for a special master appointment on the morning after the raid.
Within the ruling [pg 9] Judge Cannon outlines the issues at the heart of the legal matter, including the government taking President Trump’s personal medical records which has nothing to do with the nature of the warrant.
“According to the Privilege Review Team’s Report, the seized materials include medical documents, correspondence related to taxes, and accounting information. … The Government also has acknowledged that it seized some “[p]ersonal effects without evidentiary value” and, by its own estimation, upwards of 500 pages of material potentially subject to attorney-client privilege.”
The DOJ was previously questioned in court about justice dept leaks to media creating an unfair and prejudicial bias against President Trump. The DOJ lawyers denied leaking yet admitted the media reports were evidence that someone within the organization was leaking information to the media, thereby creating a framework of public opinion the defendant cannot easily refute. Cannon writes:
“the Court takes into account the undeniably unprecedented nature of the search of a former President’s residence; Plaintiff’s inability to examine the seized materials in formulating his arguments to date; Plaintiff’s stated reliance on the customary cooperation between former and incumbent administrations regarding the ownership and exchange of documents; the power imbalance between the parties; the importance of maintaining institutional trust; and the interest in ensuring the integrity of an orderly process amidst swirling allegations of bias and media leaks.”
Judge Cannon also cited examples of the DOJ review team failing in their duty to separate attorney-client privilege material.
In appointing the special master, Judge Cannon pauses the government from continuing to exploit the documents seized, writing, “Furthermore, in natural conjunction with that appointment, and consistent with the value and sequence of special master procedures, the Court also temporarily enjoins the Government from reviewing and using the seized materials for investigative purposes pending completion of the special master’s review or further Court order.” The order, though, “shall not impede the classification review and/or intelligence assessment by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (“ODNI”) as described in the Government’s Notice of Receipt of Preliminary Order.”