President Donald Trump is requesting that a federal court appoint a special master to review the documents seized in the FBI’s raid of Mar-a-Lago. a request that the DOJ has criticized for being “unnecessary”
This is the first legal action taken by Trump’s attorneys, who argue that this search may have violated the Fourth Amendment, which protects Americans from unreasonable search and seizure.
“Law enforcement is a shield that protects Americans. It cannot be used as a weapon for political purposes,” the filing says. “Therefore, we seek judicial assistance in the aftermath of an unprecedented and unnecessary raid on President Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago.”
Trump’s lawyers have insisted that Trump-appointed Judge Aileen Cannon should appoint a special master to review the evidence seized by the FBI at Trump’s Florida home, and they want the evidence to be shared with them.
In a court filing on Wednesday, Trump’s lawyers reasoned that a special master would save the case from potentially out-of-control investigators.
“The government should provide to the special master and to movant a copy of the seized materials, a copy of the search warrant, and an unredacted copy of the underlying application materials. Left unchecked, the DOJ will impugn, leak, and publicize selective aspects of their investigation with no recourse for movant but to somehow trust the self-restraint of currently unchecked investigators,” the filing said.
The DOJ has firmly pushed back on this request, urging the judge to reject the request for a special master, arguing that “even if his claims were properly raised, Plaintiff would not be entitled to the relief he seeks.”
“As an initial matter, the former President lacks standing to seek judicial relief or oversight as to Presidential records because those records do not belong to him,” the DOJ added, also saying that the court “lacks jurisdiction” to make an official judgment on Trump’s Fourth Amendment challenges to the search’s validity.
The Justice Department also insisted that the appointment of a special master would be “particularly inappropriate,” and would “impede the government’s ongoing criminal investigation” and “the Intelligence Community from conducting its ongoing review of the national security risk that improper storage of these highly sensitive materials may have caused.”
Over the weekend, Cannon said that she had a “preliminary intent” to appoint a special master to review some of the seized documents. Trump’s lawyers and the DOJ are set to meet in a federal courtroom in Florida on Thursday, after which Cannon will make a decision on how to proceed.