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July 24, 2024

Judge Grants Special Master; Halts Review of Mar-a-Lago Docs –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On September 5, 2022


UPDATE: Partial Stay Granted pending appeal

Today, a Southern District of Florida Judge Cannon issued an Order granting Trump’s request for a Special Master to review the documents removed during the FBI’s search at Mar-a-Lago.

From the Order:

Pursuant to the Court’s equitable jurisdiction and inherent supervisory authority, and mindful of the need to ensure at least the appearance of fairness and integrity under the extraordinary circumstances presented, Plaintiff’s Motion [ECF No. 1] is GRANTED IN PART. The Court hereby authorizes the appointment of a special master to review the seized property for personal items and documents and potentially privileged material subject to claims of attorney- client and/or executive privilege. Furthermore, in natural conjunction with that appointment, and consistent with the value and sequence of special master procedures, the Court also temporarily enjoins the Government from reviewing and using the seized materials for investigative purposes pending completion of the special master’s review or further Court order.

As a final matter, the Court determines that a temporary injunction on the Government’s use of the seized materials for investigative purposes—but not ODNI’s national security assessment—is appropriate and equitable to uphold the value of the special master review. . . To appoint a special master to make privilege determinations while simultaneously allowing the Government, in the interim, to continue using potentially privileged material for investigative purposes would be to ignore the pressing concerns and hope for the best.

Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED AND ADJUDGED as follows:

1. A special master shall be APPOINTED to review the seized property, manage assertions of privilege and make recommendations thereon, and evaluate claims for return of property. The exact details and mechanics of this review process will be decided expeditiously following receipt of the parties’ proposals as described below.

2. The Government is TEMPORARILY ENJOINED from further review and use of any of the materials seized from Plaintiff’s residence on August 8, 2022, for criminal investigative purposes pending resolution of the special master’s review process as determined by this Court. The Government may continue to review and use the materials seized for purposes of intelligence classification and national security assessments.

3. On or before September 9, 2022, the parties shall meaningfully confer and submit a joint filing that includes:

a. a list of proposed special master candidates; and

b. a detailed proposed order of appointment in accordance with Rule 53(b), outlining, inter alia, the special master’s duties and limitations consistent with this Order, ex parte communication abilities, schedule for review, and compensation.

4. Any points of substantive disagreement as to 3(a) or (b) should be identified in the forthcoming joint filing.

5. The Court RESERVES RULING on Plaintiff’s request for return of property pending further review.

6. This Order is subject to modification as appropriate.

Read the 24-page Order below:

Special Master Court Order


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