Judge says Trump can hold off on affirming accuracy of FBI’s Mar-a-Lago inventory
U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon brushed aside an order from the special master in the Mar-a-Lago case requiring former President Trump to back his claims the FBI planted evidence in his home in an order that also extends the deadline for completing the review.
The order from Cannon comes after Trump’s legal team penned a letter to Judge Raymond Dearie, the special master, complaining his “management plan exceeds the grant of authority from the district court on this issue.”
In Thursday’s order, Cannon agreed with Trump’s team, saying his attorneys would not be required to affirm the accuracy of the FBI’s inventory from Mar-a-Lago before getting a chance to review the records themselves.
“There shall be no separate requirement on Plaintiff at this stage, prior to the review of any of the seized materials. … The Court’s Appointment Order did not contemplate that obligation,” Cannon wrote.
Her order also extends the timeline to review the roughly 200,000 pages Trump stored at his home from Nov. 30 until Dec. 16.
The shuffling of deadlines also allows other key filings from the Trump team to land after the midterms.
Cannon sided with a requirement from Dearie for the Trump team to be more specific about what types of executive privilege he wishes to assert over the documents.
Trump’s team must now label each document to claim whether it could be covered by attorney-client privilege or executive privilege, as well as which presidential records he argues are his personal property.
But his team is not required to make those claims until shortly after the midterm elections. Dearie had required Trump’s team to make those claims on a rolling basis.
The order from Cannon comes after the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the Justice Department, ruling the district court judge erred by failing to siphon off classified documents from the special master process so DOJ could continue with its national security review.
But that same ruling also indicated they believed Cannon largely erred in appointing the special master to begin with.