© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, U.S. February 28, 2021. REUTERS / Octavio Jones / File Photo
By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Justice’s search of the home of former President Donald Trump this month revealed a “limited” amount of documents that potentially apply attorney-client privilege, public prosecutors federal prosecutors said in a court filing Monday.
New Justice Department disclosures could prompt Trump’s legal team’s request to designate a special owner to conduct a privileged review of items the FBI seized from his Florida estate. Trump in an unprecedented search on August 8.
At the same time, however, the department also revealed that its filtering team has completed a review of the documents – a sign that Trump’s request for a special master’s degree may be too late.
The Specialty Master is an independent third party that is sometimes appointed by the courts in sensitive cases to review documents that are likely to fall under the attorney-client privilege to ensure investigators are not view them inappropriately.
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon of the Southern District of Florida over the weekend issued an order saying she was inclined to appoint a special master.
She ordered the Justice Department to respond to Trump’s request and provide a more detailed list of items seized from Trump’s home.
On Monday, the Justice Department said it would comply with the request and file the information under its seal by Tuesday.
In the department’s filing, prosecutors said the filtering team is following the procedures they set forth in the subpoena to deal with any material that may be referred to by attorney-client privilege, including including submitting them to the court for identification.
The department, along with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), is currently conducting a categorical review of the seized documents, adding that ODNI is separately conducting an “intelligence community assessment of potential threat to national security” could arise if they were ever exposed.
The search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, by order of Attorney General Merrick Garland, marks a significant escalation of one of a number of federal and state investigations Trump is currently investigating. faced with regard to time in office and private business.
The department is investigating Trump for unlawful retention of national defense information, violations of the Espionage Act, and is also investigating whether he attempted to obstruct a criminal investigation.
In an unusual move last week, the Justice Department sealed a redacted copy of a legal document outlining the evidence the agency used to persuade Judge Bruce Reinhart to allow a search warrant.
It revealed that Trump kept records relating to the country’s most closely guarded secrets, including those related to intelligence gathering and secret human sources. .
The US National Archives first discovered Trump had withheld classified documents in January, after he returned 15 boxes of presidential files he had kept at Mar-a-Lago.
After the FBI raided his home this month, it collected additional documents, including 11 more classified files.