The Mar-a-Lago Raid Case Could Get Interesting
A federal judge in South Florida—yes, a Trump judge—preliminarily intends to appoint a special master to look into the raid.
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From Fox via TGP:
A federal judge on Saturday announced its “preliminary intent to appoint a special master” to review records seized by the FBI during its unprecedented raid of [Trump’s] Mar-a-Lago home earlier this month, at the request of former President Trump and his legal team, citing the “exceptional circumstances.”
Trump and his legal team filed a motion Monday evening seeking an independent review of the records seized by the FBI during its raid of Mar-a-Lago earlier this month, saying the decision to search his private residence just months before the 2022 midterm elections “involved political calculations aimed at diminishing the leading voice in the Republican Party, President Trump.”
U.S. District Judge from the Southern District of Florida Judge Aileen M. Cannon on Saturday afternoon said that the decision was made upon the review of Trump’s submissions and “the exceptional circumstances presented.”
“Pursuant to Rule 53(b) (1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Court’s inherent authority, and without prejudice to the parties’ objections, the Court hereby provides notice of its preliminary intent to appoint a special master in this case,” Cannon wrote in a filing Saturday.
A hearing is set for Sept. 1 at 1:00 p.m. in West Palm Beach, Fla. Cannon also ordered the Justice Department to file a response by Aug. 30 and provide, “under seal,” a “more detailed Receipt for Property specifying all property seized pursuant to the search warrant executed on August 8, 2022.”
But getting a proper inventory may not be the end of the story—which is why this could get quite interesting:
To unpack what SWC is saying in the second tweet …
A Special Master can do anything the judge empowers him to do—naturally, that has to be something that the judge has power to do.
Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure covers Search and Seizure matters. Rule 41(g) gives the judge extensive powers to review demands for the return of seized property, and that means the Special Master can look at all issues affecting that determination—”any factual issue necessary to decide the motion”—including the scope of the warrant that was issued:
(g) Motion to Return Property. A person aggrieved by an unlawful search and seizure of property or by the deprivation of property may move for the property's return. The motion must be filed in the district where the property was seized. The court must receive evidence on any factual issue necessary to decide the motion. If it grants the motion, the court must return the property to the movant, but may impose reasonable conditions to protect access to the property and its use in later proceedings.