A federal appeals court on Thursday ruled that a Trump-appointed judge erred in appointing a special master to independently review the documents the FBI seized from his Mar-a-Lago estate in August.
An 11th Circuit Court of Appeals panel unanimously determined that U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon was incorrect both to appoint a special master to independently assess Trump's executive privilege claims and to bar the Department of Justice from conducting its own review, Politico reported.
"The law is clear. We cannot write a rule that allows any subject of a search warrant to block government investigations after the execution of the warrant," the panel wrote, per Reuters. "Nor can we write a rule that allows only former presidents to do so."
Trump will likely appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.
The DOJ asked the 11th Circuit Court to overrule Dearie's appointment in October, saying "[d]istrict courts have no general equitable authority to superintend federal criminal investigations... [I]nstead, challenges to the government's use of the evidence recovered in a search are resolved through ordinary criminal motions practice if and when charges are filed. Here, however, the district court granted the extraordinary relief Plaintiff sought..."
The Supreme Court in October, rejected a request from the Trump team to intervene in the matter and allow special master Raymond Dearie to review documents marked as classified.
On Aug. 8, 2022 FBI agents from the Washington Field Office raided Trump's Florida estate seeking classified documents he may have taken from the White House. Trump has claimed the raid was an act of political persecution, a sentiment echoed by top-level Republicans.
The DOJ in November appointed Jack Smith as special counsel to handle its investigations involving Trump after he announced his 2024 presidential campaign.