Trump VICTORY – Judge Says Yes!
(UnitedVoice.com) – Drama has continued to follow former President Donald Trump long after his departure from office in January 2021. In August, the FBI raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home after securing a search warrant, looking for alleged classified documents belonging to the government. Still, the warrant was comprehensive in scope, and it’s unknown precisely what federal law enforcement agents took from the home.
On Monday, September 5, a federal judge granted Trump’s request to appoint a special master. That will force the Department of Justice (DOJ) to slow down its criminal investigation. While some decried the order, George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley said the ruling was a step in the right direction. It comes at a time when many are publicly skeptical of the DOJ’s motives just a few years removed from the FBI’s most senior leadership role in the Russian collusion hoax.
Federal Judge Approves a Special Master
Any time a legal situation arises involving a president or former president, the situation becomes unique. Throw Trump into the mix, and unique is hardly the best word to describe the drama. After FBI agents took numerous boxes from the ex-commander in chief’s Florida estate, his attorneys argued the Justice Department acquired sensitive attorney-client information, and other documents they claimed fell under executive privilege.
In the 24-page ruling, US District Judge from the Southern District of Florida Aileen M. Cannon ordered a special master appointed to review the seized documents and property, evaluate it for attorney-client and executive privilege, and consider Trump’s claims for the return of property. It’s not uncommon for judges to appoint a special master to determine whether the government improperly seized materials via a subpoena or a search warrant. If deemed so, prosecutors cannot use those materials in a criminal case against a defendant.
Cannon stated the former president faces possible harm if the government improperly disclosed sensitive information to the public. Trump’s attorneys argued in court that the DOJ’s internal “filter” team was insufficient to oversee and hold investigators and prosecutors accountable. The judge agreed and said prosecutors improperly saw potentially privileged materials in at least two cases.
Turley Says Ruling Not Unprecedented
After the order’s release, constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley said Cannon’s order was not unprecedented. He noted judges use special masters in cases when they need assistance to create records for ruling on motions. He stated the Justice Department admitted investigators picked up some attorney-client privileged documents in their search.
Turley emphasized Cannon’s order does not stop a criminal investigation. It only prohibits the use of the documents. He said prosecutors can still talk to witnesses about what they saw in the boxes and other issues important to establishing whether Trump committed a crime. He added the ruling could slow the investigation down some. Still, he asked what it would matter if the Justice Department felt it had enough to charge the former president but didn’t intend to do so until after the election.
So, where do matters go from here?
Copyright 2022, UnitedVoice.com