A federal judge has signaled a preliminary intent to side with President Trump’s lawyers who are asking for a “special master” to oversee documents that could potentially be protected following the FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago.
Law and Crime reports, that following a request for answers US District Judge Aileen M. Cannon said that she was inclined to grant the request for a special master due to the “exceptional circumstances presented.”
Special masters are usually appointed third parties to review materials in cases where there is voluminous amounts of evidence and evidence that could fall into a privileged or protected classification..
Special masters have been granted in the case of Rudy Guiliani and Michael Cohen due to their legal relationships with former President Trump.
Judge Cannon’s order reads:
(1) Pursuant to Rule 53(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Court’s inherent authority, and without prejudice to the parties’ objections, the Court hereby provides notice of its preliminary intent to appoint a special master in this case.
(2) A hearing on the Motion is scheduled for September 1, 2022, at 1:00 p.m. The hearing shall be conducted at the Paul G. Rogers U.S. Courthouse, 701 Clematis Street, Courtroom 1, West Palm Beach Florida, Florida 33401.
Next came a series of specific demands for “the defendant” — the U.S. Government. Judge Cannon ordered the government to “publicly file a Response” to Trump’s list of demands on or before Tues., Aug. 30.
The documents requested by Judge Cannon must, per her order and “accordance with Rule 53,” explain the parties’ “respective and particularized positions on the duties and responsibilities of a prospective special master, along with any other considerations pertinent to the appointment of a special master in this case.”
The government asserted in the original search warrant application before Magistrate Judge Reinhart that it believed violations of the Espionage Act and a few other laws may have been afoot. It is framing the case around those criminal statutes, particularly 18 U.S.C. §§ 793(e), 2071, and 1519. No one has been charged, however.
But in documents filed Friday, Trump’s attorneys alternatively characterized the dispute as arising under the Presidential Records Act, 44 U.S.C. §§ 2201-2209, which Trump’s camp indicated is “not a criminally-enforceable statute.”
The special master, if appointed, will determine if any of the documents are privileged.