A judge has appointed a special master to oversee the review of materials seized from President Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer. The move comes after prosecutors and Trump’s lawyers failed to agree on how to handle the sensitive materials. The special master, who has not yet been decided upon, will have the authority to determine what is relevant to the criminal investigation and what can be shared with Trump’s lawyers. The appointment is a victory for Trump, who had objected to prosecutors reviewing the materials without his lawyers present. It is not clear how long the review process will take. The special master will be tasked with ensuring that prosecutors have access to the evidence they need while also protecting Trump’s right to privacy and due process.
An inquiry into the possible illegal retention of government secrets at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home has resulted in the appointment of a “special master” by the federal court that heard Trump’s request for the appointment of such a master. Until the special master finishes its work, the order by US district court judge Cannon Aileen who is a Trump appointment, will also prevent the department of justice from analyzing the materials for its criminal inquiry, giving the former president a procedural triumph.
However, Cannon noted in her 24-page ruling that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) could continue reviewing the seized materials as part of its separate investigation into whether Trump’s retention of documents marked as classified at Mar-a-Lago posed a threat to national security. Justice Department officials have indicated that they want to appeal the ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, which will virtually surely prolong the investigation into possible Espionage Act crimes and probable obstruction of justice.