The Justice Department has asked the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta to suspend part of a federal judge’s decision to appoint a special master to review materials seized during the Aug. 8 search of former President Trump’s Florida home.
The request focuses narrowly on the judge’s decision that a third-party arbitrator assess nearly 100 confidential records found in the search and to prevent the circuit from using the documents in its ongoing investigation until the review is complete, which is expected to take months. .
“Although the Government believes that the District Court has fundamentally erred in appointing a Special Chief and granting an injunction, the Government seeks to retain only those parts of the order that cause serious and immediate harm to the Government and the public,” the lawsuit said.
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Eileen Cannon Raymond Deere, a senior judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, as special master, gave him access to the entire cache of about 11,000 records seized from the property. The Justice Department objected that he did not need to review classified records because Trump had no lien on classified government materials.
Cannon’s order also gives Trump’s legal team access to classified records, and does not state that they have security clearances.
The private tutor is supposed to put aside any material that might be shielded from investigation by claims of attorney, client, or executive privilege. Cannon agreed to allow the intelligence community to continue a national security review of the documents, but ordered the Department of Justice from using the materials in its investigation until the review of the special master was completed. She dismissed the Justice Department’s argument that it would be impractical to separate the criminal investigation from the national security review because the FBI plays a leading role in both.
The Justice Department has warned that it will appeal Cannon’s decision if it does not amend its decision to deny investigators access to classified material during the special key review.
The department said a special tutor is not necessary, in part because officials have already completed a review of documents potentially subject to attorney-client privilege and set them aside. She also argued that a private tutor should not resolve claims for executive privilege.