Federal judge to rule on Trump’s special lead request later after hearing concludes

Former President Donald Trump’s push for a special master to oversee the Justice Department’s review of evidence gathered at Mar-a-Lago comes at a critical time as a hearing is set to begin soon Thursday on the request.

A federal judge has signaled a “preliminary intent” to grant the request, which could lead to further complications in the DOJ’s closely watched investigation into White House documents Trump brought to his Florida residence.

Here’s what a special master is and what it would mean for materials seized at Mar-a-Lago:

What is a special master? A special master is a third-party attorney appointed by a court to oversee part of a given case.

If named in Trump’s case, the special master would oversee the Justice Department’s review of evidence collected from his beach club and filter out privileged documents that may have been entered in the search.

Why does Trump want a special teacher? Trump’s legal team widely argues that a special master is needed to ensure the Justice Department returns all of its private documents seized during the Mar-a-Lago search.

Lawyers for the former president say his constitutional rights were violated and confidential documents may have been seized. But in the court filings, Trump did not specify what exactly he hoped a special master would filter out, besides general allusions to “preferred and potentially privileged materials.”

What is the position of the Ministry of Justice? The department has previously reported that it uses an internal screening team to review seized items, to separate material that may be subject to claims of privilege.

The DOJ said in a court filing on Monday that it had identified “a limited set of documents” from its search for documents extracted from Mar-a-Lago that potentially contain material covered by solicitor-client privilege and is in the process of resolving privilege disputes.

Justice officials also confirmed that US intelligence officials were reviewing the documents for classified material.

Investigators have previously mentioned the work of a screening team when they returned private documents to Trump that would not be part of the investigation, such as two expired passports and his diplomatic passport.

The Justice Department, in court documents, said it believed the evidence it collected at Mar-a-Lago would support its criminal investigation into the mishandling of federal records, including national defense materiel. , after Trump’s team took boxes of files to Florida when he left the office.

The investigation is also examining a potential obstruction of justice in the investigation.