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Trump probe: Appeals court halts Mar-a-Lago special master review

Posted at 4:19 PM, Dec 01, 2022

On Thursday, a federal appeals court halted an independent review of documents seized at former President Donald Trump's Florida residence in August, according to the Associated Press.

The judges at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, two of whom were appointed by Trump, overturned U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon's September ruling that would have appointed a third-party special master to review the thousands of documents seized at Mar-a-Lago on Aug. 8, the Washington Post and the Associated Press reported.

In an opinion, the judges expressed concern about Cannon's decision.

"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. Nor can we write a rule that allows only former presidents to do so," the opinion read. "Either approach would be a radical reordering of our caselaw limiting the federal courts’ involvement in criminal investigations. And both would violate bedrock separation-of-powers limitations. Accordingly, we agree with the government that the district court improperly exercised equitable jurisdiction and that dismissal of the entire proceeding is required. The district court improperly exercised equitable jurisdiction in this case. For that reason, we vacate the September 5 order on appeal and remand with instructions for the district court to dismiss the underlying civil action."

According to the AP, the judges' ruling comes as no surprise since they raised skeptical questions towards a Trump lawyer during arguments last week.

Also, the news outlets pointed out that two of the three judges previously ruled that the Justice Department could use the Mar-a-Lago documents in a criminal probe.