The Department of Justice (DOJ) Friday asked the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to end a special master review of thousands of documents that the FBI seized from former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate. The request argues that Judge Aileen Cannon was wrong to grant a special master review at Trump’s request because there was no indication of malfeasance or infringement of Trump’s rights in connection with the search. The DOJ believes that the special master review process is unwarranted as to executive privilege and as to the government records.
The DOJ first argues that district court erred in exercising equitable jurisdiction because the “plaintiff failed to establish the ‘foremost’ factor needed for the exercise of jurisdiction” and that “the remaining Richey factors weigh further against the exercise of jurisdiction.”
Second, the request states that even if the district court properly exercised equitable jurisdiction, Trump has no plausible claim of executive privilege to warrant special master review. The DOJ also said that Trump lacks a plausible claim of attorney-client privilege. Consequently, the DOJ believes “there are no disputes that could possibly entitle the plaintiff to enjoin the government’s review and use of the seized records pending the special-master review because none of the disputes raised by plaintiff is relevant to potential claims of an executive or attorney-client privilege.” The DOJ requests that the court instruct the district court to dismiss the action and reverse the district court’s requirement that the government must submit the seized records for special master review.
During an August search of Trump’s residence, the FBI seized 103 documents with classification markings and about 11,000 other documents and photographs. Following the seizure, Trump requested a special master review. Judge Aileen Cannon granted Trump’s request and named Raymond Dearie as special master. If the special master review is maintained, Drearie will review all the documents and write a report by mid-December recommending how Cannon should rule on any privilege claims.