Trump considers filing motion calling for “special master” to review evidence seized from Mar-a-Lago, attorney says

Former President Donald Trump is considering filing a judicial motion calling for the appointment of a “special master” to review and return evidence gathered during last week’s FBI. search for his estate in Mar-a-Lagosaid one of his lawyers Friday.

Appearing on Mark Levin’s radio show, attorney Jim Trusty said the filing could come as soon as possible Friday night, or not until Monday.

“It’ll probably be more hours,” Trusty said. “It’s coming very soon.”

Two people familiar with the discussions also confirmed the possible court filing to CBS News on Friday. Trump’s legal team is considering filing the motion in federal court in Florida, the sources said.

Trump also suggested such a motion on Friday in a post on his Truth Social platform.

“A major Fourth Amendment motion will be filed shortly regarding the illegal burglary of my home, Mar-a-Lago, just before the ever-important midterm elections,” Trump wrote in part.

A person close to Trump added that the former president and his lawyers would like federal prosecutors to give them a more detailed list of what was collected, and ensure that a “neutral” person is involved in the assessment. of the documents.

Trusty told Levin the filing will argue that the FBI’s seizure was “excessive,” in violation of the law’s requirement that there must be “limited” on a search.

Trusty said Trump’s legal team will argue that a special master is needed to review the seizure to guard against the possibility of material under administrative law or attorney-client privilege having been seized.

“We have privilege issues that are extremely important here,” Trusty told Levin. “We do think that one of the benefits of the special captain, if the master agrees, is that we can stop DOJ when it comes to inspecting these documents.”

Sources indicate Trump’s legal team could seek relief under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure governing searches. In particular, at least two lines could be cited, lines 41(f) and 41(g). Trusty mentioned rule 41(f) explicitly in the interview.

That rule relates to the execution of the search warrant. It states that the officer executing the warrant must “make and verify an inventory of all seized property” and provide a “copy of the warrant and a receipt for the goods” to the person whose property has been seized.

A motion based on this rule would call for full return of the seized items based on a claim that there was something wrong with the conduct of the search. Rule 41(g) is a “motion to return property.” It reads: “A person who has been harmed by an unlawful search and seizure of property or by the deprivation of property may relocate for the return of the property.”

David Weinstein, a former assistant US attorney for the Southern District of Florida, told CBS News that such a filing would initiate a process that would require listing evidence, determining whether ownership has probative value, and then contesting it.

“I suspect the government’s response to this will be, we believe everything we have seized is of evidential value,” Weinstein told CBS News on Friday.

Ty Cobb, a former Trump White House attorney, told CBS News in an interview on Friday that he believes the administration also favors a special master to “take the plunge.”

“This is an unprecedented prosecution, investigation of a former president,” Cobb said. “This has never happened before, so I think I would like to play it by the letter of the law.”

On Aug. 8, FBI agents conducted a search of Mar-a-Lago, approved by Attorney General Merrick Garland, in which they seized 11 sets of classified documents, according to the unsealed search warrant. The agents collected boxes marked “top secret”, “secret”, “confidential” and “top secret/sensitive compartmentalized information”.

The arrest warrant revealed that the Justice Department is investigating Trump for violations of three criminal laws, including the Espionage Act.

Sources told CBS News that the search was related to a Justice Department investigation into claims by the National Archives that it found 15 boxes of records, including classified material, in Mar-a-Lago earlier this year.

Two sources told CBS News that, a few weeks before the searchA Trump attorney had signed a document confirming that all classified material had been removed from Mar-a-Lago.

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