“Based on the applicant’s former position as President of the United States, the stigma associated with entering the subject is unique,” Cannon wrote. “A future indictment, based in any degree on property that should be returned, would result in reputational damage of a decidedly different order of magnitude.”
Classification review and intelligence assessments conducted by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence will, however, be allowed to continue.
Both sides have until Friday to nominate special master candidates and their specific duties.
Trump’s lawyers argued that a special master was needed because they don’t trust the Justice Department to fairly identify privileged documents that should be excluded from the ongoing criminal investigation.
Trump blasted the Justice Department and the seizure during his rally in Pennsylvania over the weekend.
“This blatant abuse of the law is going to produce a backlash like no one has ever seen before,” he said. “…these same exact people to justice and the FBI, these same exact people, as well as outside scum, are in on it again with the horrible raid on my house. They keep going on and on and they need to be arrested.”
However, Cannon wrote that Trump had not proven that his constitutional rights had been ignored.
“(T)he Court agrees with the government that, at least on the basis of the record to date, there has been no compelling evidence of callous disregard for the plaintiff’s constitutional rights,” she wrote. .
But Cannon cited several reasons for bringing in the special master, including “the interest of ensuring the integrity of an orderly process amid swirling allegations of bias and media leaks.” She also cited the historical nature of the case.
The judge said the special master will be responsible for reviewing “property seized for personal items and documents and potentially privileged material subject to claims of attorney-client and/or executive privilege.”
She added: “The Court is aware that the restrictions on criminal prosecution are unfavorable, but believes that these unprecedented circumstances call for a brief pause to allow neutral third-party review to ensure a fair process with adequate safeguards.”
FBI obtained medical and tax information on Trump during search, judge says
The Justice Department said its own “screening team” had already completed its review of the Mar-a-Lago documents – and found a small set of confidential attorney-client records.
In court documents, the DOJ said a “limited” number of documents potentially covering attorney-client privilege were filtered out and that the department was following procedures it outlined to a magistrate when he had applied for the warrant, but Cannon had questions about his results.
The Justice Department also obtained a “tax correspondent” and medical documents during the search, according to the privilege team’s report that remains sealed but which Cannon described on Monday.
Cannon noted that Justice Department attorneys admitted to seizing some “[p]personal effects without probative value”, as well as 500 pages of documents potentially subject to solicitor-client privilege.
“Appointing a special master to make privilege decisions while allowing the government, in the meantime, to continue to use potentially privileged material for investigative purposes would be to ignore pressing concerns and hope for the best,” said the judge.
She wrote that Trump’s “individual interest and need for the seized assets” was one of the reasons for coming out in favor of Trump’s demands for a special master.
Cannon also said the privilege review team’s report described “at least two instances in which members of the investigative team were exposed to material that was later turned over to the investigation team. examination of privileges”.
“These examples alone, even if completely unintentional, raise questions about the adequacy of the filter,” she wrote.
“The United States is reviewing the notice and will consider appropriate next steps in the ongoing litigation,” Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said.
Friday deadline for Trump and DOJ to nominate special master nominee
Cannon set a deadline on Friday for Trump lawyers and Justice Department prosecutors to negotiate the special master’s “duties and limitations” and submit a list of potential candidates to fill the position.
She also wants both parties to come up with a timeline for the master’s special review and how the person will be compensated for their work.
“The exact details and mechanics of this review process will be decided upon shortly after submissions are received from parties,” Cannon wrote.
Because the lawsuit demanding the special master was filed by Trump two weeks after the search, it raised questions among legal observers about what role a special master might even play, given that at that time, the Justice Department was likely well on its way to completing its review of the evidence.
The scope of a special material will be decisive.
The DOJ had requested that the review, if granted, focus on documents potentially covered by solicitor-client privilege. Trump requested the special master on the grounds that there were executive privilege issues with the seizure of records.
During the hearing, reports said, the judge said Trump’s ability to assert executive privilege as a former president was unsettled law. But she also had specific questions for the Trump team about what the review they were looking for would look like.
If the two sides disagree on the parameters of the soon-to-be-appointed special master, they should explain their differences in a court filing, Cannon said Monday.
Cites the recent Kavanaugh Supreme Court decision
The DOJ had “probably exaggerated[d] the law,” Cannon wrote, arguing that executive privilege had “no role to play here because the plaintiff — a former chief executive — is entirely precluded from successfully asserting executive privilege. ‘executive against the current executive’.
“The Supreme Court did not rule out the possibility that a former president would trump an incumbent president on issues of executive privilege,” Cannon wrote.
“Furthermore, this year alone, the Supreme Court noted that, at least as part of a congressional investigation, ‘