Trump seeks to block FBI from reviewing items seized from Florida home

FILE PHOTO: The three page itemized list of property seized in the execution of a search warrant by the FBI at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate is seen after being released by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S. August 12, 2022. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump on Monday asked a federal court to temporarily block the FBI from reviewing the materials it seized two weeks ago from his Florida home, until a special master can be appointed to oversee the review.

Trump’s motion, filed in a federal court in West Palm Beach, Florida, also demanded that the U.S. Justice Department provide him a more detailed property receipt outlining items the FBI seized from his Mar-a-Lago home during its Aug. 8 search, and asked investigators to return any items outside the scope of the search warrant.

Politics cannot be allowed to impact the administration of justice,” the filing says. “Law enforcement is a shield that protects Americans. It cannot be used as a weapon for political purposes,” it added.

A special master can sometimes be appointed in highly sensitive cases to go through seized materials and ensure that investigators do not review privileged information.

When FBI agents searched the homes of Trump’s former lawyers Michael Cohen and Rudy Giuliani, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan requested the appointment of a special master.

Trump’s request was assigned to U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon, whom Trump appointed to the bench. A Justice Department spokesman said prosecutors will file their response in court.

“The Aug. 8 search warrant at Mar-a-Lago was authorized by a federal court upon the required finding of probable cause,” spokesman Anthony Coley said.

Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, the judge who approved the warrant, is weighing whether to require the Justice Department to release a redacted copy of the affidavit laying out evidence for probable cause to search Trump’s home.

The Justice Department at a court hearing last week opposed its release, saying it would provide a “roadmap” of its investigation and possibly chill witness cooperation.

In a court order filed earlier on Monday, Reinhart said he agreed those were legitimate concerns, but said he wants to explore whether there is a “less onerous alternative to sealing the entire document.”

The Justice Department has until noon on Thursday to provide him under seal a redacted copy of the document that he could potentially release to the public.

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