DOJ says it will appeal against Florida judge’s ruling on special master

The Department of Justice has asked the Florida Judge Aileen Cannon to stay that part of her order that halted the investigation requiring showing classified documents to a special master and affirmed it “will appeal if she doesn’t do that”.

The US Department of Justice responded on Thursday to the controversial Monday ruling by former US President Donald Trump-appointed Judge Aileen Cannon who ordered a special master to oversee the documents seized at Mar-a-Lago.

“The DOJ files notice of appeal in a case where a judge effectively froze the Trump documents investigation and imposed a special master to filter material for executive privilege,” New York Times correspondent Charlie Savage reported.

“The DOJ is asking the judge to stay the part of her order that halted the investigation and would require showing classified docs to the special master, and says will appeal if she doesn’t do that.”

Legal experts have described this as a really smart move by the DOJ to pursue their investigation unhindered. The filing noted an urgency to investigate what was in the empty folders with classification headers.

“The same is true of the empty folders with ‘classified banners’ that were among the seized materials here,” the DOJ argued.

“The FBI would be chiefly responsible for investigating what materials may have once been stored in these folders and whether they may have been lost or compromised — steps that, again, may require the use of grand jury subpoenas, search warrants, and other criminal investigative tools and could lead to evidence that would also be highly relevant to advancing the criminal investigation,” media reports said.

The filing said Trump had “never disputed” that he “has no property, possession, or other legal interest in classified records.”

Alan Kohler, Jr., the assistant director of the FBI for counterintelligence, also filed a six-page affidavit in support of the DOJ’s motion.

Legal experts quickly took to social media to analyse the prosecutors’ move.

Former Department of Justice spokesperson Matt Miller said: “The DOJ firing its biggest bullets here: Cannon’s order has already forced (Office of Director of National Intelligence) to stop its risk assessment, and further delay will further harm national security.

National security lawyer Bradley Moss wrote: “This DOJ motion reiterates over and over what I have been stating on CNN and MSNBC for three days now: there is nothing for a Special Master to do with the documents containing classification markings. They are government property. They don’t belong to Trump.”

Former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal said, “This is really smart.”

“This is a savvy move by the DOJ,” wrote former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti. “This gives Judge Cannon an opening to back down from the most problematic parts of her ruling, avoid appeal, and keep the investigation moving.”

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