DOJ Appeals Order Banning Its Use of Classified Materials in Mar-a-Lago Investigation : NPR

A sign marks the facade of the Department of Justice building in Washington on May 5, 2022.

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A sign marks the facade of the Department of Justice building in Washington on May 5, 2022.

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The Justice Department is asking the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta to lift part of an order by Judge Aileen Cannon that bars the government from using classified documents seized at Mar-A-Lago in its investigates and compels the government to release these documents to the special captain designated in the case.

The DOJ is not appealing the entire order establishing the special master process, asking for what it considers “modest but critically important relief.”

The call was expected; in a filing last week, the department gave Judge Aileen Cannon until September 15 to respond to their request.

The department has been unable to use seized material in its criminal investigation since Cannon’s order to deny the DOJ access to classified documents and appoint a special master to review the material for anything Trump might be able to assert privilege on,

The 11th Circuit primarily compromises Republican judges, many of whom were appointed by Trump. But Neal Devins of the William and Mary School of Law told NPR that while Cannon, a Trump appointee, has sided with the former president thus far, the appeals court judges won’t. will not necessarily follow.

“We could actually see the Trump judges in the 11th Circuit overturn that ruling, just like we’ve seen the Trump judges in the election pretty much evenly dismiss allegations of voter fraud,” Devins said.

In this aerial view, former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate is seen September 14 in Palm Beach, Florida.

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In this aerial view, former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate is seen September 14 in Palm Beach, Florida.

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In the meantime, a special master has been selected to get involved in the investigation.

Cannon on Thursday night appointed special master Raymond Dearie to review documents seized from the Mar-a-Lago estate of former President Donald Trump, denying the Justice Department’s request to block the process, in which the government will not cannot use the seized documents for their criminal investigation until the review is complete.

Dearie, a veteran federal judge, was a nominee proposed by Trump that the Justice Department did not oppose. He holds senior status in the Eastern District of New York and was first nominated by Ronald Reagan.

Cannon ordered Dearie to release interim reports and recommendations “if any” during the review, which she ordered to be completed by Nov. 30, closer to Trump’s attorneys’ timeline request. . The government wanted the review done in mid-October.

The Justice Department previously said it did not want the special master to have access to classified documents, but Cannon said that request was without merit. But she said the court would ask the special master to prioritize “about 100 documents marked as classified”.

Cannon also says she is unconvinced by the government’s argument that the FBI’s criminal investigation of the documents is closely tied to the intelligence community’s assessment.

Cannon notes that the Trump team will bear the cost of the professional fees and expenses of the special master and any support staff or expert consultants engaged in the process. Trump’s team originally requested that the cost be split between them and the government.

The Justice Department said it would appeal the special master’s order.

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