(CNSNews.com) - Federal District Judge Aileen M. Cannon issued an order today requiring that a “special master” be appointed to review what the Justice Department seized from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home when it was raided last month by the FBI.
In the order, the judge said that the FBI had seized “medical documents” from Mar-a-Lago.
“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,” said Judge Cannon’s order.
“Furthermore, in natural conjunction with that appointment, and consistent with the value and sequence of special mater 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,” said the judge.
The order said that four factors needed to be considered when pondering a question such as the one raised by Trump’s attorney’s calling for a special master. These included “whether the government displayed a callous disregard for the movant’s constitutional rights, whether the movant has a constitutional interest in and need for the seized property, whether the movant would be irreparably injured by denial of the return of the seized property, and whether the movant otherwise has an adequate remedy at law.”
The judge determined that the government had not shown a “callous disregard” for the former president’s constitutional rights, but that the former president did have “an individual interest in and need for the property seized.”
“The second factor—whether the movant has an individual interest in and need for the seized property—weighs in favor of entertaining Plaintiffs requests,” said the order.
“According to the Privilege Review Team’s Report, the seized materials include medical documents, correspondence related to taxes, and accounting information,” said the judge’s order.
“The Government also has acknowledged that it seized some ‘[p]ersonal effects without evidentiary value,’ and, but its own estimation, upwards of 500 pages of material potentially subject to attorney-client privilege.”
“Thus,” said the order, “based on the volume and nature of the seized material, the Court is satisfied that Plaintiff has an interest in and need for at least a portion of it, even if the underlying subsidiary detail as to each item cannot reasonably be determined at this time based on the information provided by the Government to date.”
The judge also said in the order that Trump faces “potential harm by way of improper disclosure of sensitive information to the public,” and “risk of suffering injury from the Government’s retention and potential use of privileged materials in the course of a process that, thus far, has been closed off to Plaintiff and that has raised at least some concerns as to its efficacy, even if inadvertently so.”