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US court grants Justice Department fast-track appeal in Mar-a-Lago case

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Oct 05, 2022 - 10:16 PM

WASHINGTON (AA) – A US court granted the Justice Department’s request Wednesday for an expedited appeal after a lower court ruled to appoint an independent overseer to review documents seized during an FBI’s search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.

The court granted the agency’s motion in a brief order directing the clerk to expedite the appeal, which will be heard by a randomly-selected panel that will decide when and how to hear oral arguments.

The ruling is a major blow to Trump and his efforts to thwart an expedited timeline.

The Justice Department has until Oct. 14 to produce an initial brief with the Trump team given a Nov. 10 deadline to reply. Prosecutors have one week after the Trump team’s deadline to file a brief if one is warranted.

The agency last week moved to ask the Eleventh Circuit to determine whether District Judge Aileen Cannon “erred by” appointing Senior Judge Raymond Dearie as an independent overseer.

Trump sought to have what is known as a special master appointed to review the trove of 11,000 records seized from Mar-a-Lago, a request granted Sept. 5 by Cannon. The former president’s legal team is seeking to have the special master examine the documents to determine whether any may be covered by what is known as executive privilege.

Under Cannon’s order, federal prosecutors are barred from accessing all of the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago, including those bearing classification markings, effectively freezing the government’s investigation.

Prosecutors said in a filing last week that even those documents that are not classified “may shed light” on a number of pertinent details, including how the records were transferred to and stored at Mar-a-Lago and who may have accessed them.

They “may also constitute evidence of potential violations” of other federal laws, including obstruction of justice and concealment or removal of government records, Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen wrote in the Sept. 30 filing.

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