Judge strikes down special master’s order in Mar-a-Lago raid case

Former President Donald Trump just scored a legal victory in his ongoing battle with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) over the unprecedented raid of his Mar-a-Lago estate.

Fox News reports that the judge overseeing the case has just overruled an unfavorable order that was given by the special master to Trump’s legal team. 

Background

The order came from Special Master Raymond Dearie last week. Dearie is the special master who was appointed to review the roughly 11,000 records that were seized by the FBI, during its raid of Trump’s estate, in order to determine whether any of the documents are privileged or personal.

Last week, Dearie put forth an order that required Trump and his legal team to submit a document by Sept. 30 identifying any “final” arguments they have regarding the property that was seized during the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago raid.

According to Fox, the order required Trump to provide:

. . . a list of any specific items in the property inventory that they assert were not seized from the premises; a list of items that were seized but to which the description of the contents or the location of the item was incorrect; and a list and description of any item that Trump’s legal team asserts was seized but is not listed in the property receipt.

“This submission shall be plaintiff’s final opportunity to raise any factual dispute as to the completeness and accuracy of the Detailed property inventory,” Dearie wrote in his order.

Overruled

Now, U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon has overruled Dearie’s order.

Cannon states that “there shall be no separate requirement at this stage, prior to the review of the Seized Materials, to lodge ex-ante final objections to the accuracy of Defendant’s Inventory, its descriptions, or its contents.”

Cannon went on to explain that “the Court’s Appointment Order did not contemplate that obligation; Defendant since has complied with the requirement to attest to its now-revised inventory and the parties and the Special Master are situated to proceed forward with the process pending exchange of the actual materials.”

Cannon added, “should any additional matters surface during the Special Master’s review process that require reconsideration of the inventory or the need to object to its contents, the parties shall make those matters known to the Special Master for appropriate resolution and recommendation to this Court.”

What now?

Next up in the case will be a status conference that will take place on Oct. 6. But, Dearie has until Dec. 16 to review the documents that the FBI seized. He will now be assisted in this task by James Orenstein, a former United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York.

Meanwhile, the DOJ is continuing its review of the classified documents that it claims it took from Trump’s residence during the raid.