On Thursday (December 1), an Appeals Court judge halted the appointment of a special master to review the documents seized from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, criticizing the decision by a lower court to appoint the special master.
A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals noted the clarity of the law, explaining that the court could not “write a rule that allows any subject of a search warrant to block government investigations after the execution of the warrant.”
The panel of judges added that this applied even to Presidents. They noted that a ruling blocking government investigations because of the subject of a search warrant would reorder the case law.
Thursday’s ruling paves the way for the Department of Justice to access roughly 22,000 documents stored at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. The ruling could also help expedite the DOJ’s investigation into Trump’s handling of documents that were recently assigned to a special counsel.
The ruling is also a blow for Trump, as he intended to challenge the validity of the search warrant conducted on his home.
But, any claims Trump would make in higher courts that the warrant was invalid were also dampened by Thursday’s ruling as the three-judge panel — of two Trump appointees and one George W. Bush appointee — asserted that appointing a special master would be a “dramatic and unwarranted” overreach of the court’s authority.
The panel noted that Trump failed to prove that the government abused its authority when they searched the home. Instead, they pointed out that whether the documents were “personal or presidential” had no bearing on the search warrant.