US urges court to lift stay on judge’s Mar-a-Lago investigation

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department on Friday asked a federal appeals court to overturn a judge’s order that had temporarily barred it from reviewing a batch of classified documents seized during a trial. FBI search for former president Donald TrumpFlorida home last month.

The department told the 11th Circuit US Court of Appeals in Atlanta that the judge’s hold was hindering “the government’s efforts to protect the nation’s security” and the presence of top-secret information at Mar-a-Lago in its investigation. was interfering. It said the moratorium needs to be lifted immediately so that work can resume.

“The government and the public would suffer irreparable damage in the absence of a stay,” the department’s lawyers wrote in their brief to the appeals court.

The appointment of a “special master” of judges to review documents, and the resulting legal dispute, appears to be sure to further slow down the department’s criminal investigation. It is unclear whether Trump, who is laying the groundwork for another potential presidency, or anyone else to be charged.

US District Judge Eileen Cannon earlier this month directed the department to withhold its use of the records until further court order, or until the completion of the report of an independent arbitrator, who will conduct its own inspection of the documents and cover any will remove. Claims of legal privilege.

On Thursday night, she appointed Raymond Deary, the former chief justice of a Brooklyn-based federal court, to serve as arbitrator — also known as a special master. It also refused to lift an order that barred the department from using it for its investigation, marking nearly 100 seized documents as classified, citing ongoing disputes about the nature of the documents. stated that they merited a neutral review.

“The Court does not consider it appropriate to accept the Government’s findings on these important and controversial issues without a quick and systematic review by a neutral third party,” it wrote.

The Justice Department last week asked Cannon to put his order on hold until Thursday, and said if he didn’t, it would ask the appeals court to step in.

CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 27: In this photo illustration, pages are seen from the government-issued version of the FBI search warrant affidavit for former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate on August 27, 2022 in California.  The 32-page affidavit was heavily revised to ensure the safety of witnesses and law enforcement and the 'integrity of the ongoing investigation'.  (Photo Illustration by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
CALIFORNIA – AUGUST 27: In this photo illustration, pages are seen from the government-issued version of the FBI search warrant affidavit for former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate on August 27, 2022 in California. The 32-page affidavit was heavily revised to ensure the safety of witnesses and law enforcement and the ‘integrity of the ongoing investigation’. (Photo Illustration by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Mario Tama via Getty Images

The FBI says it took nearly 11,000 documents, including about 100 with classification marks, found in the storage room and office while serving a court-authorized search warrant at the home. Weeks after the discovery, Trump lawyers asked a judge to appoint a special master to conduct an independent review of the records.

In its September 5 order, Canon agreed to sift through the records to name a particular master and filter any that could potentially be covered by claims of executive privilege or attorney-client privilege.

Appointing Dearie on Thursday, she gave him access to the full tranche of documents, including confidential records. She directed him to complete his review and prioritize the review of classified documents by November 30, and to allow the Justice Department to allow the Trump legal team to inspect classified records with “controlled access conditions.”

The Justice Department disagreed with the judge that the Special Master should be given the authority to inspect classified records. It said the seized classified records did not include communications between Trump and his lawyers that could be covered by attorney-client privilege, and said the former president could not invoke executive privilege to reliably shield government documents. can do what is not theirs. investigation.

Although the department had argued that the judge’s order was unreasonably obstructing its work, Cannon disagreed with its order on Thursday, saying that officers could proceed with other aspects of their investigation, such as that interviewing witnesses.

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