Trump Doesn’t Have to Declare FBI Planted Evidence


The federal judge who granted Donald Trump’s request to have a special master review documents seized from Mar-a-Lago has overruled the special master. US District Court Judge Aileen Cannon issued an order Thursday rejecting the faster timeline the independent arbiter had proposed for the review, Politico reports. She also rejected special master Judge Raymond J. Dearie’s request for Trump’s lawyers to certify by Friday that the FBI’s inventory of seized documents is accurate. The order means that the former president will no longer have to submit a sworn declaration of his allegations that the FBI planted evidence at his Florida estate, reports the Guardian.

“There shall be no separate requirement on plaintiff at this stage, prior to the review of any of the seized materials, to lodge ex ante final objections to the accuracy of defendant’s inventory, its descriptions, or its content,” Cannon, a Trump appointee, wrote in the order. The order “essentially let Mr. Trump and his legal team out of a box that Judge Dearie had tried to put them in,” the New York Times notes. Prosecutors had sought to have Dearie’s review completed by mid-October, and Dearie set out a series of deadlines, but Cannon chose the slower timeline set out by Trump’s lawyers, who proposed having Dearie complete his work by mid-December. Cannon will take up any objections to the special master’s rulings after that, likely extending the timeline into 2023, Politico notes.

Dearie has been tasked with reviewing the seized documents for anything protected by attorney-client privilege or executive privilege, but there have been disagreements between Trump’s team and the Justice Department on how the process should play out, the AP reports. The Justice Department scored a win last week when a federal appeals court partly overruled Cannon, allowing investigators to continue using classified documents seized from Mar-a-Lago in its investigation. (Read more Donald Trump stories.)