DOJ admits it took ‘potentially’ privileged documents from Trump during FBI raid

It appears that former President Donald Trump was telling the truth when he claimed that the FBI, during its raid on his Mar-a-Lago estate, took documents protected by the attorney-client privilege.

The U.S. Department of Justice, in a court filing on Monday, admitted that some of the documents seized by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago “potentially contain attorney-client privileged information.” 

The filing, in relevant part, states:

Although the government will provide the Court more detail in its forthcoming supplemental filing, the government notes that, before the Court issued its Prelimary Order, and in accordance with the judicially authorized search warrannt’s provisions, the Privelege Review Team . . . identified a limited set of materials that potentially contain attorney-client privileged information, completed its review of those material, 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.

Background

Former President Trump and his team, after the property receipt from the FBI’s raid was made public, revealed that the FBI may have taken attorney-client protected documents.

Trump, on social media, wrote:

Oh great! It has just been learned that the FBI, in its now famous raid of Mar-a-Lago, took boxes of privileged ‘attorney-client’ material, and also ‘executive’ privileged material, which they knowingly should not have taken. By copy of this TRUTH, I respectfully request that these documents be immediately returned to the location from which they were taken. Thank you!

At the time, Fox News reported:

Sources familiar with the investigation told Fox News Saturday that the former president’s team was informed that boxes labeled A-14, A-26, A-43, A-13, A-33, and a set of documents—all seen on the final page of the FBI’s property receipt —contained information covered by attorney-client privilege.

Given this – that documents protected by the attorney-client privilege are believed to have been taken by the FBI – Trump and his legal team called for an independent special master to be appointed to review the records.

The DOJ opposed the idea. But, Trump’s team, nonetheless, asked the court to allow for the appointment of an independent special master, and the court agreed.

The latest

Now, as the DOJ’s latest filing suggests, the independent special master isn’t going to be much help because the DOJ and FBI already went through all of the documents that it seized from Mar-a-Lago.

Trump has yet to respond to the DOJ’s filing.

The next stop in the case will be at the federal courthouse in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Thursday. There, a hearing will be held. The DOJ has been ordered by the court to provide more detail about the property that it took from Trump’s residence.

There is still little to suggest that the FBI’s unprecedented raid on Trump’s residence was anything other than politically motivated.

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