It has been more than two weeks since the unprecedented FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida to seize alleged classified documents and presidential records he had retained after leaving office — a raid Trump has vociferously denounced and is now fighting against in court.
Attorneys for the former president on Monday filed a lawsuit seeking the appointment of an independent and neutral “special master” to review all of the seized documents instead of allowing the FBI to conduct such a review internally, the Conservative Brief reported.
The likely goal of that lawsuit is to force the FBI to immediately return certain documents that likely never should have been seized under the broad and vague search warrant that authorized the raid, such as materials protected by the attorney-client privilege or Trump’s own executive privilege as a former president.
Request for a neutral review
Bloomberg News reported Monday that Trump’s attorneys filed the federal lawsuit Monday to ask for the court’s appointment of a neutral third party to review all of the seized documents for privileged materials before they are handed over to prosecutors — a process typically conducted by a so-called “filter team” of FBI agents and lawyers.
Accordingly, Trump’s attorneys also asked District Judge Aileen Cannon, who was appointed by Trump in 2020, to order the FBI and Justice Department to immediately halt their internal review until a “special master” is appointed and for any privileged materials already identified to be immediately returned.
“Law enforcement is a shield that protects Americans; It cannot be weaponized for political purposes,” the attorneys asserted in the court filing. “Therefore, we seek judicial assistance in the aftermath of an unprecedented and unnecessary raid on President Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago.”
Judge has questions prior to issuing decision
CNBC reported Tuesday that Judge Cannon swiftly responded to the lawsuit by posing several pertinent questions to former President Trump’s attorneys about what, exactly, they were requesting her to do and what sort of implications that might have more broadly.
Specifically, the judge asked about the legal basis for the request for a special master and how they expected her to go about making such an appointment.
Further, she asked Trump’s attorneys what sort of relief they were seeking overall, such as an injunction against the FBI, and whether this particular suit would have an impact on parallel proceedings in the court of Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who signed off on the warrant and is now considering whether to release the FBI’s affidavit outlining probable cause for the raid and seizures.
Judge Cannon gave the former president’s lawyers until Friday to answer her questions, which would undoubtedly be a substantial factor in her ultimate decision to grant or reject the special master request.
Biased anti-Trump FBI can’t be trusted to internally review seized documents
As noted, Trump has loudly decried what many view as a politically motivated FBI raid against him, the most prominent partisan opponent of President Joe Biden, by an increasingly politicized and weaponized federal justice system.
Given just how clearly politicized and weaponized the FBI and DOJ are against him — as evidenced by seven years now of baseless investigations and leaked innuendo — it should go without saying that any internal “filter team” of FBI agents and lawyers simply can’t be trusted to review the seized materials in a neutral manner, so if there is any sense of justice remaining in our judicial system, the judge should have no qualms about appointing a special master to provide that necessary neutral review.