While prosecutors had already appealed portions Special Appointment of U.S. District Court Judge Aileen M. Cannon on Friday marked the first time they had appealed the entire court order. If the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit sided with the government, the master’s special examination would stop – and criminal investigators would again be allowed access to thousands of unclassified documents that the FBI agents took to Mar-a-Lago in August.
The government said in its appeal that these unclassified documents are essential to its ongoing criminal investigation into possible mishandling of classified documents, obstruction and destruction of government documents, and could help them conduct witness interviews. and corroborate evidence.
“In brief, unclassified records that have been stored collectively with records bearing classification marks can identify who was responsible for the unauthorized retention of those records, the relevant time periods during which the records were created or accessed, and who may have accessed or seen them,” the filing reads.
The Atlanta Court of Appeals said Trump’s attorneys have until Nov. 10 to file their response. As part of their appeal, Justice Department lawyers updated the number of documents retrieved from Mar-a-Lago, which was previously around 11,000, but is now around 13,000.
Trump’s lawyers asked two weeks after an outside expert’s search to sift through seized documents — including 103 documents marked classified — to determine whether any are protected by attorney-client or executive privilege, and should be protected from criminal investigators.
Prosecutors argued in Friday’s 53-page filing that Trump has no right to assert any form of privilege over government documents, rendering review by Brooklyn-based federal judge Raymond J. Dearie unnecessary.
Cannon originally ordered the special master to review both classified and unclassified documents and prohibited the Justice Department from using any of the documents in its criminal investigation until that review was completed. A panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit reversed part of that decision, which removed the classified documents from Dearie’s review and allowed investigators to use those documents immediately.
Thursday, the Supreme Court rejected a petition from Trump’s lawyers asking him to review part of the appeals court’s decision on narrow technical grounds.
Cannon said Dearie would have until December to complete her review of the unclassified documents.