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US District Judge to hear DOJ’s arguments against Trump’s request for special master

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At 1 PM EST on Thursday, September 1, US District Judge Aileen Cannon will hear arguments from the Justice Department about the Mar-a-Lago documents. These are the hundred-plus papers seized from Donald Trump’s Florida residence on August 8, 2022, during the FBI’s execution of a search warrant.

The activity was part of an ongoing investigation focused on executive documents, specifically classified documents, believed to be in Trump’s possession. These events immediately began a contentious legal battle, with the former president requesting that a special master be appointed to oversee the Justice Department’s handling of the documents. This role would be carried out by a third-party attorney who would determine if any of the evidence was protected under attorney-client privilege and could be withheld from investigators.

On Saturday, August 27, Cannon indicated that she was leaning towards granting the request for a special master. On Tuesday, August 30, the Justice Department (DOJ) responded with a court filing that provided new details about the investigation. This new information turned out to be a bombshell.

The filing stated that documents had possibly been “concealed and removed” from a storage room to thwart the investigation. The DOJ also expressed doubt over the claims of Trump’s attorneys that they had “diligently searched” the estate to find and return classified materials. The last page of the filing was perhaps the most impactful. It clearly showed highly sensitive documents casually strewn on the floor of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago office.

As some of these documents detailed clandestine “human sources,” the DOJ argued in the filing that the appointment of a special master could harm national security. It also argued that such an individual would be “unnecessary” as the department has already separated privileged and non-privileged documents.

This afternoon’s hearing will allow the DOJ to make its arguments to Cannon in person. It will also enable them to rebuke Trump’s claims that the search was unjustified and that the Justice Department cannot be trusted.

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