Court Battles

Trump mulling motion to appoint ‘special master’ to review evidence from Mar-a-Lago search: attorney

Former President Trump is considering filing a motion for a “special master” to review the evidence that the FBI obtained during its search at his Mar-a-Lago property last week. 

Trump’s lead counsel for the matter, James Trusty, told conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin on his show on Friday that the former president’s legal team will “very soon” file a motion related to the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures. 

Trusty said appointing a special master, which is an official selected by a judge to carry out a judicial matter on the court’s behalf, is rare in relation to search warrants being executed, but there needs to be “somebody in the middle” because the Justice Department (DOJ) should not be able to be “the guardians of what’s privileged or not.” 

He said one of the benefits of appointing a special master is stopping the DOJ in inspecting the documents. 

Trump hinted on his social media platform Truth Social earlier on Friday that he would take legal action against the search related to the Fourth Amendment, claiming his rights have been violated. 

Trusty said previous arguments about the disclosure of documents related to the search of Trump’s property in Palm Beach, Fla., have been related to the First Amendment’s protection of the freedom of the press, but Trump’s lawyers are going to work “very hard” in defense of Trump, who he said should not have been subjected to the search warrant. 

He said the team will argue that the search was overly broad based on the Fourth Amendment language requiring particularity and narrowness in searches.

Trusty said the part of the search warrant that allowed FBI agents to take an entire box if a document marked as classified was found in it, along with other boxes that are “collectively stored” with the box, is the “functional equivalent” of a general search with no limit in scope. 

He said the property receipt, which has been made public, is vague and includes descriptions like “box of documents,” so Trump’s team does not know exactly what was taken or from where. 

Trump’s potential action would come days after the federal judge who approved the search warrant said he might be willing to unseal parts of the affidavit that the FBI used to show its evidence that there was probable cause of a crime being committed. The judge told the DOJ to suggest redactions to the document, and he would determine if they were appropriate. 

The Fourth Amendment requires that warrants specifically describe the location to be searched and items to be seized. The search warrant was unsealed shortly after the search took place following a DOJ motion for it to be publicized given the significant public interest in the situation.

Tags Department of Justice Donald Trump Donald Trump FBI search warrant Fourth Amendment mar-a-lago search Mar-a-Lago search Mark Levin Mark Levin special master

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