Mar-a-Lago search turns into potentially privileged documents, DOJ says

WASHINGTON—A special judicial panel has withheld some documents from investigators Captured earlier this month From the former president

Donald TrumpMar-a-Lago’s home said Monday that it may contain information protected by attorney-client privilege.

The revelation came in a brief court filing that said the agency had already completed a review of those privileged materials, potentially replicating a federal judge’s initial decision to appoint an outside party known as a special master to review the seized documents.

On Saturday, U.S. District Judge Eileen Cannon signaled her desire to name such a distinguished master To review itemsMr. Trump’s lawyers had requested two weeks after the August 8 search.

On the August 22 movement, Mr. Trump’s legal team called the FBI search a “shockingly aggressive move.” asked someone outside the judiciary Documents must be designated to inspect “to protect the sanctity of executive communications and other privileged material.” The panel also asked the judge to order investigators to immediately stop examining the items.

A special master is a third party, usually a retired judge, tasked with reviewing evidence and filtering out irrelevant material or communications protected by attorney-client privilege, administrative privilege, or similar legal doctrines.

Citing issues beyond attorney-client privilege, Mr. The Justice Department is expected to respond to Trump’s request in more detail on Tuesday. Judge Cannon scheduled a hearing for Thursday for related arguments.

In Monday’s filing, prosecutors said the department had already set up a separate filtering committee to review the documents for privileged information before agents could review them in the investigation. That initial review team identified a “limited set of materials that contain attorney-client privileged information,” completed a review of those documents, and is working to resolve potential material-related issues, the filing said.

According to A property receipt Released after the search, FBI agents removed about two dozen boxes from Mar-a-Lago, including 11 sets of classified documents. The document did not specify how many of the total agencies were seized.

An affidavit released Friday by the Justice Department said the boxes recovered from Mar-a-Lago earlier this year contained more than 184 classified documents and that there was probable cause to believe “additional documents” containing national security information remained. Photo: Jim Borg/Reuters

A separate document released on Friday, The A heavily redacted confession The Federal Bureau of Investigation described its justification for searching the Florida estate, outlining how law enforcement officials were not involved in the investigation. Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago office will be searched. The affidavit refers to it as “Office 45” – which Mr. It was an apparent reference to Trump being the 45th president — and said the special committee would identify and declassify any documents covered by attorney-client privilege.

Judge Cannon ordered the Department of Justice to file a detailed receipt under seal showing what property was seized; Prosecutors are expected to make the filing on Tuesday.

In Monday’s filing, the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence are assisting in a “classification review” of the seized materials, and U.S. intelligence agencies are assessing the risk to national security. Items are disclosed.

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told lawmakers last week that intelligence agencies will make that assessment.

On Monday, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre declined to say whether President Biden would be notified once the damage assessment was complete. Regarding the search for Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Biden was not informed in advance, but the White House said he would not discuss whether concerns about sensitive documents reached his desk in the form of a daily briefing.

“It’s something I can’t talk about,” Ms. Jean-Pierre said, adding that explanations were classified.

Write to Aruna Viswanatha at [email protected]

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