Judge cites ‘intent’ to name watchdog in Trump case

Politics

(NewsNation) — A federal judge Saturday announced “preliminary intent” to appoint a special master to oversee the handling of the FBI’s search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.

This comes just one day after the Justice Department made public a heavily redacted version of the affidavit used to obtain the search warrant for the president’s Florida home.

A special master will serve as a third-party watchdog over the handling of records, sitting in the middle of the legal battle between Trump, the Department of Justice and the FBI, after a search recovered several boxes containing hundreds of classified government documents being stored at Trump’s Palm Beach property after he left the White House. 

Late Friday night Trump and his legal team filed a supplemental motion seeking judicial oversight and additional relief in their case against the FBI, essentially alleging the case has not been handled fairly thus far and a “special master” should be appointed to oversee the case.

In their motion, filed in a U.S. District Court, Trump’s legal team laid out why their previous requests for a special master to oversee the case should have been granted earlier and also asked the court to provide them with a more ”sufficiently detailed” account of what was taken from Mar-a-Lago by the FBI and for the return any items that fell outside the scope of the affidavit.

U.S. District Judge from the Southern District of Florida Aileen M. Cannon announced her intention to appoint a special master, citing “exceptional circumstances.” She scheduled a hearing on the matter for Thursday, during which she will allow the Justice Department to voice any objections they have to her intention.

“Pursuant to Rule 53(b) (1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Court’s inherent authority, and without prejudice to the parties’ objections, the Court hereby provides notice of its preliminary intent to appoint a special master in this case,” Cannon wrote in a filing.

Politico reported on Saturday that the U.S. intelligence community would review the documents taken from Mar-a-Lago for any possible national security risks stemming from Trump’s possession of the documents.

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines sent a letter to lawmakers stating her intention to lead an “assessment of the potential risk to national security that would result from the disclosure of the relevant documents,” per the Politico report.

This marks the first known engagement between the Biden administration and Congress on the Mar-a-Lago search.

View the judges ruling below:

Mar-a-Lago search: “Preliminary intent” to appoint a special master by Tom Palmer on Scribd

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