Judge to write order after Mar-a-Lago hearing for special master to review items obtained in search

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A federal court judge said she would not rule from the bench Thursday and would enter a written order at an unknown time about the appointment of a special master to review items obtained in the search of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property.This kind of review, Trump’s attorneys say, would allow for “highly personal information” such as diaries or journals to be separated from the investigation and returned to Trump, along with any other documents that may be protected by claims of attorney-client privilege or executive privilege. The government noted that there are more than 60 sets of items already put aside as part of the investigation that could be qualified as privileged.The Justice Department says an appointment is unwarranted because investigators have completed their review of potentially privileged records and identified “a limited set of materials that potentially contain attorney-client privileged information.”Trump’s counsel made a point in court to make the comparison of an overdue library book that is now a federal investigation.District Judge Aileen Cannon stated Saturday she was leaning toward granting Trump’s legal team’s request to appoint a special master to review of items obtained in the search. Trump also hired a new lawyer, former Florida Solicitor General Christopher Kise, Tuesday in the criminal probe that led to the search warrant of his property at Mar-a-Lago. “This is an unprecedented situation. We need to lower the temperature,” Kise said. “We need to take a deep breath.”After the hearing, sister station WPBF tried to speak with attorneys, but they did not give any comments.Former President Donald Trump’s legal team responded Wednesday to the Justice Department’s latest filing opposing the request for a special master to oversee the review of the items seized in the Mar-a-Lago search. In the DOJ’s filing released late Tuesday night, they stated that classified documents were “likely concealed and removed” from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate as part of an effort to obstruct the federal investigation into the discovery of the government records.In their response, Trump’s lawyers stated that the warrant was done in the midst of a “standard give-and-take between former Presidents and the National Archives and Records Administration regarding presidential library contents” and that the former President had previously allowed DOJ lawyers and FBI investigators to go into his home. Trump’s team also addressed the photo DOJ released in their response Tuesday night that has since been circulating in the media, stating that “the government gratuitously included a photograph of allegedly classified materials, pulled from a container and spread across the floor for dramatic effect.”The DOJ’s document contained a chronology of months of interactions between the DOJ and Trump representatives about the discovery of government secrets. In the most detailed document on the search to date, the Department of Justice states the FBI obtained 33 boxes that contained more than 100 classified documents in Trump’s office at Mar-a-Lago, according to a filing. The timeline laid out by the Justice Department made clear that the extraordinary search of Mar-a-Lago came only after other efforts to retrieve the records had failed, and that it resulted from law enforcement suspicion that additional documents remained inside the property despite assurances by Trump representatives that a “diligent search” had accounted for all of the material. It also included a picture of some of the seized documents bearing clear classification markings, perhaps as a way to rebut suggestions that whoever packed them or was handling them could have easily failed to appreciate their sensitive nature.What isn’t included in the document — some core questions. Why did Trump hold on to the documents after he left the White House? And why were efforts to get the documents back met with such resistance?The documents actually suggest officials may not have any answers. During a June 3 visit to Mar-a-Lago by FBI and Justice Department officials, the document states, “Counsel for the former President offered no explanation as to why boxes of government records, including 38 documents with classification markings, remained at the Premises nearly five months after the production of the Fifteen Boxes and nearly one-and-a-half years after the end of the Administration.”That visit to Mar-a-Lago, which came weeks after the Justice Department issued a subpoena for the records, receives substantial attention in the document and appears to be a key investigative focus.During the same visit, the document says, Trump’s lawyers told investigators that all the records that had come from the White House were stored in one location — a Mar-a-Lago storage room — and that “there were no other records stored in any private office space or other location at the Premises and that all available boxes were searched.”After that, though, the Justice Department, which had subpoenaed video footage for the property, “developed evidence that government records were likely concealed and removed from the Storage Room and that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation.” The filing does not identify the individuals who may have relocated the boxes.In their August search, agents found classified documents both in the storage room as well as in the former president’s office — including three classified documents found not in boxes, but in office desks.“That the FBI, in a matter of hours, recovered twice as many documents with classification markings as the ‘diligent search’ that the former President’s counsel and other representatives had weeks to perform calls into serious question the representations made in the June 3 certification and casts doubt on the extent of cooperation in this matter,” the document states.It says, “In some instances, even the FBI counterintelligence personnel and DOJ attorneys conducting the review required additional clearances before they were permitted to review certain documents.”The investigation started after a National Archives and Records Administration referral recovered 15 boxes of items from Mar-a-Lago in January, which contained 184 classified documents. The Department of Justice announced Monday that its team tasked with identifying materials obtained in the search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort that could break attorney-client privilege has finished.The team had to identify items that could contain attorney-client privileged information and is in the process of addressing the possible disputes, a filed notice states. The department said it did identify “a limited set of materials that potentially contain attorney-client privileged information” in the filing.The director of national intelligence is also leading an intelligence community assessment for the potential risk to national security should the materials obtained from the search warrant be released. This article contains information from The Associated Press.

A federal court judge said she would not rule from the bench Thursday and would enter a written order at an unknown time about the appointment of a special master to review items obtained in the search of former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property.

This kind of review, Trump’s attorneys say, would allow for “highly personal information” such as diaries or journals to be separated from the investigation and returned to Trump, along with any other documents that may be protected by claims of attorney-client privilege or executive privilege.

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The government noted that there are more than 60 sets of items already put aside as part of the investigation that could be qualified as privileged.

The Justice Department says an appointment is unwarranted because investigators have completed their review of potentially privileged records and identified “a limited set of materials that potentially contain attorney-client privileged information.”

Trump’s counsel made a point in court to make the comparison of an overdue library book that is now a federal investigation.

District Judge Aileen Cannon stated Saturday she was leaning toward granting Trump’s legal team’s request to appoint a special master to review of items obtained in the search.

Trump also hired a new lawyer, former Florida Solicitor General Christopher Kise, Tuesday in the criminal probe that led to the search warrant of his property at Mar-a-Lago.

“This is an unprecedented situation. We need to lower the temperature,” Kise said. “We need to take a deep breath.”

After the hearing, sister station WPBF tried to speak with attorneys, but they did not give any comments.

Former President Donald Trump’s legal team responded Wednesday to the Justice Department’s latest filing opposing the request for a special master to oversee the review of the items seized in the Mar-a-Lago search.

In the DOJ’s filing released late Tuesday night, they stated that classified documents were “likely concealed and removed” from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate as part of an effort to obstruct the federal investigation into the discovery of the government records.

In their response, Trump’s lawyers stated that the warrant was done in the midst of a “standard give-and-take between former Presidents and the National Archives and Records Administration regarding presidential library contents” and that the former President had previously allowed DOJ lawyers and FBI investigators to go into his home.

Trump’s team also addressed the photo DOJ released in their response Tuesday night that has since been circulating in the media, stating that “the government gratuitously included a photograph of allegedly classified materials, pulled from a container and spread across the floor for dramatic effect.”

This image contained in a court filing by the Department of Justice on Aug. 30, 2022, and redacted by in part by the FBI, shows a photo of documents seized during the Aug. 8 search by the FBI of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. The Justice Department says it has uncovered efforts to obstruct its investigation into the discovery of classified records at former President Donald Trump's Florida estate.

Department of Justice

The DOJ’s document contained a chronology of months of interactions between the DOJ and Trump representatives about the discovery of government secrets.

In the most detailed document on the search to date, the Department of Justice states the FBI obtained 33 boxes that contained more than 100 classified documents in Trump’s office at Mar-a-Lago, according to a filing.

The timeline laid out by the Justice Department made clear that the extraordinary search of Mar-a-Lago came only after other efforts to retrieve the records had failed, and that it resulted from law enforcement suspicion that additional documents remained inside the property despite assurances by Trump representatives that a “diligent search” had accounted for all of the material.

It also included a picture of some of the seized documents bearing clear classification markings, perhaps as a way to rebut suggestions that whoever packed them or was handling them could have easily failed to appreciate their sensitive nature.

What isn’t included in the document — some core questions. Why did Trump hold on to the documents after he left the White House? And why were efforts to get the documents back met with such resistance?

The documents actually suggest officials may not have any answers.

During a June 3 visit to Mar-a-Lago by FBI and Justice Department officials, the document states, “Counsel for the former President offered no explanation as to why boxes of government records, including 38 documents with classification markings, remained at the Premises nearly five months after the production of the Fifteen Boxes and nearly one-and-a-half years after the end of the Administration.”

That visit to Mar-a-Lago, which came weeks after the Justice Department issued a subpoena for the records, receives substantial attention in the document and appears to be a key investigative focus.

During the same visit, the document says, Trump’s lawyers told investigators that all the records that had come from the White House were stored in one location — a Mar-a-Lago storage room — and that “there were no other records stored in any private office space or other location at the Premises and that all available boxes were searched.”

After that, though, the Justice Department, which had subpoenaed video footage for the property, “developed evidence that government records were likely concealed and removed from the Storage Room and that efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation.” The filing does not identify the individuals who may have relocated the boxes.

In their August search, agents found classified documents both in the storage room as well as in the former president’s office — including three classified documents found not in boxes, but in office desks.

“That the FBI, in a matter of hours, recovered twice as many documents with classification markings as the ‘diligent search’ that the former President’s counsel and other representatives had weeks to perform calls into serious question the representations made in the June 3 certification and casts doubt on the extent of cooperation in this matter,” the document states.

It says, “In some instances, even the FBI counterintelligence personnel and DOJ attorneys conducting the review required additional clearances before they were permitted to review certain documents.”

The investigation started after a National Archives and Records Administration referral recovered 15 boxes of items from Mar-a-Lago in January, which contained 184 classified documents.

The Department of Justice announced Monday that its team tasked with identifying materials obtained in the search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort that could break attorney-client privilege has finished.

The team had to identify items that could contain attorney-client privileged information and is in the process of addressing the possible disputes, a filed notice states.

The department said it did identify “a limited set of materials that potentially contain attorney-client privileged information” in the filing.

The director of national intelligence is also leading an intelligence community assessment for the potential risk to national security should the materials obtained from the search warrant be released.

This article contains information from The Associated Press.

Contributed by local news sources

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