Today, President Trump’s legal team filed a motion to request the court appoint a special master to sort through documents taken from his Mar-a-Lago home. The motion would also bar the DOJ from reviewing the material in the meantime.
The motion from Trump seeks an injunction that would bar the government from any further review of the seized materials until the appointment of a special master, and also requests a “more detailed” receipt from the government of items that were seized.
The motion further requests an order from the judge to have the Justice Department return any item seized “that was not within the scope of the Search Warrant.”
The full motion is available here. It opens with a summary of the raid which claims it was overly broad and possibly in violation of the 4th Amendment.
On August 8,2022, in a shockingly aggressive move and with no understanding of the distress that it would cause most Americans roughly two dozen Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), directed by attorneys of the ‘U.S. Department of Justice (the “Government”), raided the home of President Donald J. Trump. According to the Government, the agents seized documents, privileged and/or potentially privileged materials, and other items- including photos, handwritten notes, and even President Trump’s passports- that were outside the lawful reach of an already overbroad warrant. President Trump, like any citizen, is protected by the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Property seized in violation of his constitutional rights must be retuned forthwith.
Law enforcement is a shield that protects Americans. It cannot be used as a weapon for political purposes.
In addition to claiming that the government has provided limited information about what it took from his home, the motion also complains that the entire search was unnecessary.
Significantly, the Government has refused to provide President Trump with any reason for the unprecedented, general search of his home. To date, the Government has failed to legitimize
its historic decision to raid the home of a President who had been fully cooperative. Instead, faced with public backlash, the Attorney General has taken the unheard-of step of announcing at a press conference that he was willing to release portions of a sealed search warrant application. Government leaks to favored media outlets have provided ever-changing, and inaccurate, “justifications” for the politicized conduct of the FBI and Department of Justice (“DOJ”). These unsupported “justifications” by anonymous sources hint at a break down in communications between President Trump’s representatives and the Government, or that there developed a need to obtain a search warrant. The actual chronology of events clearly establishes that there was no “exigency” for a forceful, raid and there is no basis for keeping information about the raid from the public.
The document then walks through Trump’s voluntary cooperation with the government for several pages. Finally, the motion asks the judge to appoint a special master so that the government isn’t able to review any privileged information.
With the conclusion that the materials seized from the Movant are all presumptively privileged, it is unreasonable to allow the prosecutorial team to review them without meaningful safeguards. Short of returning the seized items to Movant, only a neutral review by a Special Master can protect the “‘great public interest’ in preserving the confidentiality of conversations
that take place in the President’s performance of his official duties’ because such confidentiality is necessary to protect ” the effectiveness of the executive decision-making process.’”
The motion concludes by also requesting the return of any items which were not within the scope of the warrant. The Associated Press has a story up about this which says the case has been assigned to a Trump-appointed judge.
The new lawsuit filed Monday was assigned to U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon, who was nominated by Trump in 2020 and confirmed by the Senate 56-21 later that year. She is a former assistant U.S. attorney in Florida, handling mainly criminal appeals, and is a member of the conservative Federalist Society, according to her biography.
That’s a potentially lucky break but we’ll have to wait and see how the judge responds.