On Monday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) admitted in a court filing that they had seized materials that may contain “attorney-client privileged information” during the FBI’s controversial raid on former President Trump’s Florida home.
“Although the government will provide the Court more detail in its forthcoming supplemental filing, the government notes that, before the Court issued its Preliminary Order, and in accordance with the judicially authorized search warrant’s provisions, the [FBI] Privilege Review Team … identified a limited set of materials that potentially contain attorney-client privileged information, completed its review of those materials, and is in the process of following the procedures set forth in paragraph 84 of the search warrant affidavit to address potential privilege disputes, if any,” the DOJ filing said.
The DOJ’s admission comes as U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon considers whether to appoint an outside expert, known as a special master, to oversee the FBI’s review of materials seized during the August 8 riad on Mar-a-Lago. Trump’s legal team requested the special master last week, and Judge Cannon suggested over the weekend that she was leaning toward agreeing with the former president on appointing a special master.
In a “preliminary order” on Saturday, Judge Cannon gave notice of her “preliminary intent to appoint a special master.” However, she called for additional steps to be taken before she makes a final decision on the appointment of a special master.
“In her order, Judge Aileen Cannon directed the government to respond to Trump’s motion by Aug. 30, and to submit with its response a “more detailed” description of the property “seized pursuant to the warrant” by the FBI from Trump’s Florida residence,” CBS News reported.
She requested a “particularized” description of “the status of the DOJ’s’ review of the seized property, including any filter review conducted by the privilege review team and any dissemination of materials beyond the privilege review team.”
Judge Cannon “has also asked both parties for their positions on the ‘duties and responsibilities’ of a special master. One logistical hurdle would be the selection of the special master. In this case, that individual would require a top security clearance, because at least some of the material collected in the Mar-a-Lago search includes sets of documents with a range of classifications from confidential up to ‘top secret,’” CBS News added.