(Washington Examiner) Former President Donald Trump has filed a lawsuit demanding the appointment of a special master to independently review any evidence the FBI seized from him as he pushes back against the unprecedented raid of Mar-a-Lago.
Trump filed the motion on Monday seeking an order from a judge which would appoint a special master, and which would stop the Justice Department from further review of the information they had seized from his Florida resort home until the special master is appointed. Trump also asked the judge to require DOJ to provide a more detailed receipt for the property it had seized from him, and to order federal investigators to return all items to him which had been taken but were outside the search warrant’s scope.
The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Earlier Monday, Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who signed the warrant for the raid on Trump’s home, suggested he may allow the Justice Department to keep the FBI affidavit underpinning its raid mostly sealed, though he rejected the DOJ’s arguments that the justification underpinning the “unprecedented search” should be kept fully hidden. The judge said in court last week that he believes there are portions of the affidavit that can be unsealed and ordered the government to file proposed redactions by Thursday.
Jay Bratt, chief of the DOJ’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, said in court Thursday that the investigation remains “in its early stages” when arguing against unsealing the affidavit.
“The documents seized at Mar-a-Lago on August 8, 2022, were seized from President Trump and were created during his term as President. Accordingly, the documents are ‘presumptively privileged; until proven otherwise,” Trump’s attorneys argued. “Only an evaluation by a neutral reviewer, a Special Master, can secure the sanctity of these privileged materials.”
The items seized by the FBI earlier this month allegedly included “various classified/[top secret]/[sensitive compartmented information] documents,” four “miscellaneous top secret documents,” three “miscellaneous secret documents,” two “miscellaneous confidential documents,” and one “confidential document.”
The Justice Department has already said that it is using a “filter team” or a “taint team” to review any potentially privileged information or to sift out evidence outside the scope of the warrant, but Trump’s lawyers argued that a “DOJ filter team will not protect President Trump’s rights.”