U.S. judge orders appointment of special master to review materials seized from Trump's Mar-a-Lago

(Xinhua) 08:29, September 06, 2022

WASHINGTON, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- A federal judge on Monday granted former U.S. President Donald Trump's request to appoint a "special master" to review materials that Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents seized from his Mar-a-Lago residence last month.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon wrote in a court order that it "authorizes the appointment of a special master to review the seized property for personal items and documents and potentially privileged material subject to claims of attorney-client and/or executive privilege."

Besides, Cannon blocked investigators from further reviewing or using the seized documents in their investigation until the special master completes their review.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Trump's attorneys were also asked to submit a joint filing by Friday that includes a proposed special master candidate list.

Trump has accused the FBI of searching Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, for political purposes, while claiming that some of the documents were protected by attorney-client privilege and executive privilege.

The DOJ had argued that a special master appointment would stall its investigation into alleged Trump's mishandling of classified documents and that he did not have the authority to claim executive privilege from his time in the White House since he is no longer in office.

A preliminary triage of the documents taken from Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8 by the FBI was said to have found 184 unique documents bearing classification markings, including 67 documents marked as "CONFIDENTIAL," 92 documents marked as "SECRET," and 25 documents marked as "TOP SECRET," according to a redacted affidavit.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and claimed all the seized documents were declassified. 

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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