The DOJ is seeking an end to a special master’s review of Trump documents

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department on Friday asked a federal appeals court to overturn a judge’s appointment of an independent arbitrator to review documents seized during an FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida home.

The appeal is the latest salvo in a week-long legal battle over the umpire’s remit. He was commissioned by a judge last month to inspect the thousands of recordings taken in the August 8 raid of Mar-a-Lago and weed out any from the investigation that may be protected by claims of statutory privilege.

The special master’s procedure has caused some delays in the Justice Department’s investigation into the storage of top-secret documents in the apartment. But a major hurdle was cleared last month when the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit lifted a temporary ban on the department’s ability to use the confiscated classified documents as part of its criminal investigation.

The move allowed a core aspect of the investigation to be reopened, greatly reducing the likelihood that the particular main trial could have a significant impact on the investigation. However, the department’s attorneys returned to court on Friday to ask for the entire special audit to be halted, saying the judge who made the appointment had no basis for doing so and Trump was not entitled to an independent review of the records seized or a claim prerogative over them.

“Plaintiff has no reasonable claim to executive privilege with respect to any of the materials seized and no reasonable claim to personal attorney-client privilege with respect to the government records — including any records bearing classification markings — seized,” the department’s brief said.

“Accordingly,” they added, “the Special Master Review process is unjustified.” The DOJ is seeking an end to a special master’s review of Trump documents

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