Judge Plans to Appoint a ‘Special Master’ to Review Documents in Trump’s Records Case

Trump-nominated Judge Aileen Cannon told the Justice Department on Saturday to provide her with more specific information about the classified records removed from former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate and said it was her “preliminary intent” to appoint a special master in the case.

The two-page order from U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon signals that she’s inclined to grant a request from Trump’s lawyers, who this week asked for the appointment of an independent special master to review the records taken from Mar-a-Lago and identify any that may be protected by executive privilege.

Cannon also directed the Justice Department to file under seal with her more detailed descriptions of the material taken from Trump’s property. The former president’s lawyers have complained that investigators did not disclose enough information to them about what specific documents were removed when agents executed a search warrant on Aug. 8 to look for classified documents.

A hearing is scheduled Thursday. 


If Cannon grants Trump’s request, the special master would be in charge of reviewing documents for issues of privilege — not the highly sensitive records at the heart of the government’s investigation. Trump’s legal filing also sought protection for documents covered by executive privilege that applies to presidents, but since he’s no longer in the White House, that legal protection does not automatically apply to these records.


Cannon said at the end of the order that it should not be construed as her final decision on the matter. 


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