On Monday, President Donald Trump’s legal team filed a motion requesting a “special master,” who would be tasked with reviewing all materials retrieved from the August 8 search at Mar-a-Lago. The motion, should the judge grant it, would also stop all Justice Department review of the materials. By Tuesday afternoon, the judge presiding over the Southern District (federal court) of Florida, had replied to the motion with a request of her own.
Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, wrote an order for the Trump legal team in which she demanded more details regarding the special master request. Specifically, Judge Cannon asked why her particular court should be the one to hear the case, and she asked for details on what the legal team expects her to do pertaining to the motion.
Two major questions Judge Cannon offered involve the case before Judge Bruce Reinhart. The judge posed questions regarding how her judgment could affect the pending case regarding the search warrant and its validity, a motion the Trump legal team filed on Monday as well. Trump posted on TRUTH Social on Sunday that his legal team would be filing a motion regarding a violation of Trump’s Fourth Amendment rights. That motion went before Bruce Reinhart, the magistrate who signed the original search warrant. At present, Reinhart is awaiting preferred redactions from the Justice Department as well as a written justification. These filings are due on Thursday, August 25.
Judge Cannon also put forth questions about whether the Justice Department has been served with a lawsuit from the Trump camp.
Cannon further asked the Trump attorneys about whether they are seeking injunctions “related to material seized in the raid” prior to the resolution of any lawsuit brought by the Trump team.
Judge Cannon was appointed to her seat in the Southern District of Florida in 2020. In the written order, Cannon gave the Trump legal team a deadline of Friday, August 26, 2022.
Trump has asked for an impartial “special master” to review all documents taken during the August 8 search of his personal home, Mar-a-Lago. FBI agents descended upon the estate in the early hours of the day and spent over eight hours combing through boxes that had been kept under a lock in a storage room on the property. Since then, there have been accusations that Trump had top secret, classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, including some to do with nuclear codes.
Trump contends that he declassified all materials he took to Mar-a-Lago prior to leaving office, something the DOJ argues isn’t factual.
Trump’s request for the special master asked the judge to “enjoin further review of seized materials by The Government until a Special Master is appointed.”
Some sources are reporting that Judge Cannon ordered the questions be answered due to a lack of specificity in the filing. Cannon asked for a clarification of the “precise relief sought” after reading the motion. Specifically, Judge Cannon was unsure whether the Trump legal team was expecting the “filter team” currently reviewing the documents to be stopped from doing so immediately, or only after the “special master” had been appointed.
Trump’s filing asked Judge Cannon to appoint the “special master” in order to “protect the integrity of privileged documents,” something the Justice Department has said is not relevant to the documents seized on August 8.
Trump’s filing on Monday claims that the Justice Department and other federal agencies are targeting him due to his propensity to be the “clear (Republican) frontrunner in the 2024 primary and in the 2024 General Election, should he decide to run. Many believe that the August 8 search did much to propel Trump’s popularity among voters. However, as the investigation drags on, some of the popularity appears to be waning.
At the same time, some have accused the Biden Administration of using federal agencies as a political weapon. As Trump’s filing read, “politics cannot be allowed to impact the administration of justice.”
There is no indication that an answer has yet been filed for Judge Cannon’s requests