Judge signals she’s likely to back Trump’s request for Mar-a-Lago’s special master

Cannon, who was nominated by Trump and confirmed by the Senate about a week after her 2020 defeat, said she plans to hold a hearing Thursday in West Palm Beach at the former president’s request for a special master. She usually convenes court in Fort Pierce, Florida, about an hour’s drive north of there.

The judge’s two-page order giving « notice of [her] preliminary intent to appoint a special master in this case” came less than a day after Trump’s lawyers requested an independent review of documents seized from his Mar-a-Lago estate on Friday evening and before prosecutors not file a response.

Cannon gave no indication of how she viewed Trump’s claims that the research was unnecessary and extreme. Instead, she asked Trump to file a brief in response to the list of seized documents produced by the Justice Department. She also asked both parties to specifically outline the role they envision for a special master. And she asked the DOJ to reveal the status of its review of the filters and whether any investigators outside the review team had seen the seized documents.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to the ruling or to a request for comment.

Appointments of special masters to oversee the handling of seized evidence in federal criminal investigations are unusual, but typically occur when prosecutors seize records from an attorney’s office. Manhattan judges have used this mechanism in recent years in investigations of two Trump lawyers: Michael Cohen and Rudy Giuliani.


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