Trump objects to DOJ’s request to expedite special master appeal
Former President Trump on Monday objected to the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) request to expedite its appeal in the special master case regarding documents seized from his Mar-a-Lago residence.
The Atlanta-based 11th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the DOJ last month when it partially stayed a lower court’s ruling, allowing the department to continue its review of classified documents seized in the high-profile August search while the special master’s document filtering continues.
As the court proceeds to its final ruling, the DOJ on Friday asked the 11th Circuit for increased speed, arguing it would improve efficiency because a successful appeal would render future special master proceedings moot, and it would serve the interests of justice given strong public interest to move quickly in the case.
“Indeed, the public interest is served best by transparent and thorough consideration of all the issues,” Trump’s attorney wrote in Monday’s filing. “The Government has not and cannot possibly articulate any real risk of loss or harm resulting from a more deliberative process.”
The DOJ’s proposed expedited timeline would have it submit an opening brief by Oct. 14, Trump respond by Nov. 4 and the department submit a rebuttal by Nov. 11. Trump’s team requested the judge instead make the latter two deadlines Nov. 14 and Nov. 21, respectively.
Trump’s attorney also argued that the judge should not hold oral arguments in the appeal until January at the earliest, while the DOJ asked for them to be held at the court’s “earliest convenience” following the brief deadlines.
The debates over timing are the latest developments in the legal battle that followed the FBI’s Aug. 8 search at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, where investigators seized roughly 100 classified documents.
Days after the search, Trump made the request for a special master to independently review the seized materials, saying some of them may be covered by attorney-client and executive privileges.
A federal trial judge last month granted the appointment, also blocking the DOJ and the FBI from continuing to leverage the seized materials in its criminal investigation.
But the DOJ appealed the ruling, asking the circuit court to remove the classified documents from the thousands of others the special master is poised to review.
The circuit court granted a stay on Sept. 21 as the appeal proceeds.