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Trump Special Master Off to a Fast Start in Documents Review

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Justice Dept appeals ruling on seized Trump documents

STORY: The U.S. Department of Justice on Friday appealed a judge’s decision to bar investigators from using the classified material seized from former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate, for their probe against him. It comes a day after the district judge ruled against the DoJ, and appointed Senior District Judge Raymond Dearie as a “special master” to vet the files first, for any materials that could be “privileged” and kept from investigators. In its Friday appeal, the DoJ said it was seeking to halt only the portions of the order “causing the most serious and immediate harm to the government and the public”. That includes reversing the decision to restrict investigators’ use of classified documents in their probe. And to disclose these materials for a special-master review process. The department criticized the judge’s direction for Dearie and Trump’s lawyers to review the classified documents, noting the former president’s attorneys were potentially being witnesses to “relevant events” in the criminal probe. The DoJ is investigating Trump for retaining government records, including top secret files, after leaving office in January 2021. It’s also looking into possible obstruction of the probe. Experts say if the judge’s barring of the DoJ stands, it would likely stall the investigation. The appeal filing asked the court to rule on the request “as soon as practicable.” But Dearie said earlier on Friday, he will hold his first hearing on the privilege review for the seized documents on Tuesday.

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