Search of Trump’s home reveals items possibly covered by attorney-client privilege, prosecutors say

WASHINGTON, Aug 29 (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department’s search of former President Donald Trump’s home this month uncovered a “limited” number of documents potentially subject to solicitor-client privilege, officials said. federal prosecutors in a court filing on Monday.

The new Justice Department disclosure could bolster a request by Trump’s legal team to appoint a special master to conduct a privileged review of items the FBI seized from Trump’s estate in Florida during its unprecedented search. August 8.

At the same time, however, the department also revealed that its screening team had already completed its review of the materials – a sign that Trump’s request for a special master may be too late.

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A special master is an independent third party sometimes appointed by a court in sensitive cases to review documents potentially covered by solicitor-client privilege to ensure that investigators do not view them inappropriately.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon of the Southern District of Florida issued an order over the weekend saying she was inclined to appoint a special master.

She ordered the Justice Department to respond to Trump’s request and provide under seal 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 seal by Tuesday.

In the department’s filing, prosecutors said the screening team followed procedures set forth in the warrant to deal with any material that may be covered by solicitor-client privilege, which includes showing it to the court for a decision.

The department and office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) are currently conducting a classification review of seized materials, he said, adding that the ODNI is separately leading an “intelligence community assessment of the potential risk for national security” that may arise. if they have ever been exposed.

The search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, which was ordered by Attorney General Merrick Garland, marked a significant escalation in one of the many federal and state investigations Trump faces involving his time at the office and in private affairs.

The department is investigating Trump for unlawfully withholding national defense information, a violation of the Espionage Act, and it is also investigating whether he attempted to obstruct the criminal investigation.

In an unusual move last week, the Justice Department unsealed a redacted copy of the legal document outlining the evidence it used to convince Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart to authorize a search warrant. Read more

He revealed that Trump kept files relating to the nation’s best-kept secrets, including those involving intelligence gathering and clandestine human sources.

The U.S. National Archives first discovered Trump kept classified documents in January, after returning 15 boxes of presidential files he kept at Mar-a-Lago.

After the FBI raided his home this month, he took away additional material, including 11 more sets of classified documents.

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Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Scott Malone and Bill Berkrot

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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