HomePoliticsJudge again sides with Trump in Mar-a-Lago document fight

Judge again sides with Trump in Mar-a-Lago document fight


Additionally, Cannon rejected Dearie’s plan to require Trump to say at the start of the review whether he believes the FBI’s inventory of seized materials is flawed, either by omitting seized items, including items that were not seized, or both. Trump has repeatedly suggested, without offering evidence, that the FBI planted evidence in his home during the court-ordered search.

“There will be no separate requirement for Plaintiff at this stage, prior to review of any of the Seized Materials, to raise final ex ante objections to the accuracy of Defendant’s Inventory, its descriptions, or its contents,” Cannon wrote.

Under Cannon’s ruling, Trump will be able to raise such concerns later in the process. Cannon also scrapped Dearie’s plan to split the documents into sets and handle objections on an ongoing basis. Instead, there will be a deadline: which is likely to arrive in early November, whereby the Trump side must indicate which specific documents it believes are subject to attorney-client privilege or executive privilege, as well as which it believes qualify as presidential records or personal records under the terms of presidential records. Act.

Prosecutors had initially called for the review to be completed by mid-October, while Trump had proposed a mid-December timeline. Cannon’s ruling aligns with Trump’s preferred timeline, with Dearie having to finish his work by Dec. 16. He would then accept objections from both sides to the special master’s rulings in a process that appears poised to stretch into 2023.

Thursday’s order is Cannon’s first significant move in the process since last week, when a federal appeals court flatly rejected his decision to initially include about 100 documents with national security classification markings in Dearie’s review. The DOJ had argued that Trump had no legitimate claim to those records and that withholding them from the DOJ during review would harm efforts to investigate whether unauthorized recipients had improperly accessed the documents.

The appeals court overturned Cannon’s refusal to restore the Justice Department’s access to those documents, making clear that it found his reasoning deeply flawed.

The back-and-forth over the mechanics of the process in recent weeks has also given rise to some disagreements and apparent friction between Cannon, who has spent less than two years on the bench, and Dearie, who has spent more than 36 years as a federal judge and was appointed by President Ronald Reagan.

Trump’s side offered Dearie as one of two preferred picks for the special teacher job. The government proposed two other options, but agreed to Dearie.

The volume of materials involved in the review remains murky. Cannon previously referenced some 11,000 documents, but Trump’s lawyers said in a court filing Wednesday that during a discussion about digitizing and organizing the documents, prosecutors said as many as 200,000 pages of materials could be involved.



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