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Trump set to ask court for ‘special master’ to review Mar-a-Lago evidence | donald trump

Donald Trump is expected to seek the appointment of a special court official to determine whether documents the FBI seized from his Florida compound can be used in a criminal investigation, according to his lead attorney Jim Trusty and two sources familiar with the matter.

The motion would be the former president’s first formal legal action after federal agents last week confiscated about 30 boxes of highly sensitive documents from his resort town of Mar-a-Lago as part of an investigation into the unauthorized retention of government secrets.

Trump would argue that the court should appoint a special master — usually a lawyer or a retired judge — because the FBI potentially seized privileged documents during the search, and the Justice Department should not decide on its own. that he can use in his investigation, the sources said.

The ex-president’s lead attorney, Trusty, told the Mark Levin Show on Friday night that he was anticipating a motion that would compel the Justice Department to release “pre-raid” instructions given to FBI agents who executed the search warrant. at Mar-a-Lago.

Trusty, a former head of the organized crime section at the Department of Justice, also told the radio show that a court filing could come that night, saying: ‘It’s probably going to take longer. hours” – although there was no entry on the case as of early Saturday afternoon.

Why Trump is filing a motion now, nearly two weeks after the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago, was unclear. The former president and his allies have already moved quickly to seek special masters, including when the office of his former lawyer Michael Cohen was raided in 2018.

Timing is important because federal agents executing search warrants are usually themselves members of a so-called Contamination Squad and screen what they remove from a property in real time. For documents with classified markings, these are sent to the relevant agencies for review.

But the nearly two-week delay means that even though Trump had filed a motion when Trusty first said so, and the court blocked the Justice Department from further reviewing the documents seized until that they are screened by a special master, prosecutors may have already sifted through all of this.

The impetus to file a motion now, the sources say, appears to have come in part in response to criticism from other Trump allies that the former president’s legal team had not filed a motion to unseal the affidavit supporting Mar-a-Lago’s research. , or other formal legal action.

Trump was unimpressed that Fox News host Laura Ingraham repeated that criticism in an interview Thursday with one of his lawyers, Christina Bobb, one of the sources said, and indicated that he thought his lawyers should fight harder on his behalf against the Justice Department.

Another person close to the former president said the account was ‘fake news’. Trusty — and two other attorneys on Trump’s legal team — did not respond to a request for comment.

But news of a potential filing by Trump came less than 24 hours after the Fox News segment, while the appearance of Bobb – now widely seen as the face of Trump’s defense team in the case – also came under internal criticism among aides, the sources said.

News of a court filing in the Mar-a-Lago case first came from the former president himself. “A major Fourth Amendment petition will soon be filed regarding the unlawful burglary of my home, Mar-a-Lago,” Trump said on his social media site Friday, alluding to the constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure. .

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