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US Department of Justice appeals ruling to appoint special master in Trump document case

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-09-09 09:33

This undated file photo released by the US Department of Justice on August 31, 2022 shows a photo attached as evidence to a court filing by the US District Court Southern District of Florida, of documents allegedly seized at Mar-a-Lago spread over a carpet. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON -- The US Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday appealed a ruling to appoint a special master to review documents FBI agents seized from former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence last month.

The DOJ also asked District Judge Aileen Cannon to pause her order blocking federal prosecutors from further reviewing documents marked classified that were seized from Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

"Without a stay, the government and public also will suffer irreparable harm from the undue delay to the criminal investigation," the DOJ wrote in a filing. "Any delay poses significant concerns in the context of an investigation into the mishandling of classified records."

Cannon said on Monday that the court "authorizes the appointment of a special master to review the seized property for personal items and documents and potentially privileged material subject to claims of attorney-client and/or executive privilege."

The judge also required the DOJ and Trump's attorneys to submit a joint filing by Friday that includes a proposed special master candidate list.

Trump has accused the FBI of searching his Mar-a-Lago residence for political purposes, while claiming that some of the documents were protected by attorney-client privilege and executive privilege.

The DOJ had previously argued Trump did not have the authority to claim executive privilege from his time in the White House since he is no longer in office.

A preliminary triage of the documents taken from Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8 by the FBI was said to have found 184 unique documents bearing classification markings, including 67 marked as "CONFIDENTIAL," 92 marked as "SECRET," and 25 marked as "TOP SECRET," according to a redacted affidavit.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and claimed all the seized documents were declassified.

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