Trump talks about « special master » as a distraction. The documents speak for themselves.


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All this talk about appointing a special master is a “red herring”. Former President Donald Trump’s legal team and supporters are asking someone else ‘neutral and detached’ to review the seized documents to ensure none of the former president’s rights have been violated. been breached – like attorney-client privilege, executive privilege, or doctor-patient privilege for that matter. What’s the difference, other than time? Let a third party examine the seized documents first. If any of the documents say « Top Secret; » if one of the documents is half eaten by the dog; if one of the documents is marked « I sure hope no one knows I have this » – then it doesn’t matter if Melania was made a special master. The documents are what they are. What will be will be.

In the end, there was no « Trump Raid on Mar-a-Lago ». A search warrant has been executed on a residence that happens to be that of a former president of the United States. Nowhere in the law is there a waiver allowing a former president of the United States to avoid having his residence subject to a search warrant. And the truth is that a search warrant, by its very nature, is a check on the power of the government to violate our rights as American citizens to be free from unwarranted government intrusion into our personal space.

Don’t take my word for it. A search warrant has its roots in our Constitution. The Fourth Amendment exists to protect us from unlawful government searches and seizures. In fact, it is presumed that any search and seizure by the government without a warrant is illegal. The Fourth Amendment reads: « The right of persons to the security of their persons, homes, papers, and effects, from unreasonable search and seizure, shall not be infringed, and no warrant shall issue, but on probable cause , supported by oath or affirmation, and describing in particular the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


This is why a judge or magistrate must first sign the search warrant. And before that judge or magistrate signs the search warrant, that judge or magistrate – who is « neutral and detached », must be satisfied that law enforcement has provided first-hand evidence that it is more likely unlikely that evidence of illegality will be found in the place to be searched – what we call « probable cause ».

Supporters of former US President Donald Trump outside Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.
(Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

That’s right – the search warrant actually protected the former President of the United States by ensuring that a detached, neutral judge first determined that it was more likely than not that evidence of illegality would be found at Mar-a-Lago before law enforcement could search for the premises.

Which now brings us to the issue of « sealing » or « unsealing » the law enforcement affidavit in support of the search warrant application. Generally, these affidavits are kept secret, and for obvious reasons. Laws cannot be enforced effectively if the government cannot gather its business in secrecy. Witnesses would not show up or could be faked; evidence could be hidden or destroyed. The burden of proof always resting with the government and the burden of proof being that of « beyond a reasonable doubt », which is such a great doubt that a jury finding that the defendant « probably did it « must lead to an acquittal – the government is largely sidelined to conduct its investigation with the curtain closed.


However, the search warrant executed at the former president’s home draws new attention to the tension between and among the public’s right to transparency when it comes to our justice system, versus the government’s right to conduct its investigations without interference. or obstruction – and against a putative defendant’s right to a defence. Of course, public confidence in our justice system is enhanced by the ability to see directly into the system. But we expect, if not demand, the government to protect us through the enforcement of our laws. The government cannot prosecute cases, get criminals off the streets, and deter future criminal offenses if it cannot effectively investigate its cases. The government often wins in this showdown. Which means that we, as law-abiding citizens, are the true benefactors because we are protected.


Because he’s a former president of the United States whose home was raided, it may be in the public interest to know more than usual. Because he’s a former president of the United States whose home was raided, maybe it’s in the public interest to have the curtain drawn a bit. And it’s perhaps this particular former president of the United States – with his unique polarizing skills – that justifies (pun intended) government being transparent in a way that this former president himself has managed to obscure so far.

But make no mistake, the search was justified; all this talk about a special master is a distraction and the documents found at the residence of the former president are what they are. What will be will be.


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