Trump doesn’t have to detail claims about planted documents to special master, judge says
A photo of documents from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida, submitted as evidence by the Department of Justice in federal court in Florida. Image from the Department of Justice.
There is no need for former President Donald Trump to raise objections to the government’s inventory of documents seized from his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida—at least at this stage of his lawsuit, a federal judge ruled Thursday.
The Sept. 29 decision by U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon of the Southern District of Florida is a victory for Trump, who objected when Senior U.S. District Judge Raymond J. Dearie, the special master, ordered him to state whether the inventory of seized items was complete and accurate.
Trump had claimed in interviews and on social media that the FBI planted documents during the Aug. 8 search, and that the government inaccurately described documents as classified that were in fact declassified.
Dearie had ordered Trump’s lawyers Sept. 22 to submit an affidavit or declaration items about problems with the inventory.
Cannon’s decision said there is no requirement “at this stage” for Trump to raise final objections about the inventory accuracy. She said her order appointing Dearie “did not contemplate that obligation.”
Cannon also pushed back the deadline for completion of the special master’s review to Dec. 16.
Publications with coverage of Cannon’s decision include the Washington Post, Law360 and the New York Times.
“While the dueling moves and countermoves by the judges were procedural in nature, they reflected a larger struggle over who should control the rules of the review—and whom those rules would favor,” the New York Times reports. “In removing the restrictions the special master had sought to impose, Judge Cannon essentially let Mr. Trump and his legal team out of a box that Judge Dearie had tried to put them in.”
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