Lawyers say the search of Trump’s home may be covered by attorney-client privilege

WASHINGTON, Aug 29 (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department’s search of former President Donald Trump’s home this month yielded “limited” documents covered by attorney-client privilege, federal prosecutors filed in court on Monday.

The Justice Department’s new revelation is the FBI’s use of Trump’s Florida estate. That would bolster Trump’s legal team’s request to appoint a special master to conduct a special review of items seized during his unprecedented Aug. 8 search.

At the same time, however, the department has revealed that its filter team has already completed its review of the materials — a sign that Trump’s request for a special master may be too late.

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A special master is an independent third party, sometimes appointed by the court in important cases, to review materials covered by the attorney-client privilege to ensure that investigators are not mishandling them.

U.S. District Judge Eileen Cannon of the Southern District of Florida issued an order over the weekend saying she intends to appoint a special master.

He also ordered the Justice Department to respond to Trump’s request, and to provide under seal a detailed list of items seized from Trump’s home.

On Monday, the Justice Department said it would comply with the request and file the information under seal by Tuesday.

In the department’s submission, lawyers said the filter committee follows the procedures specified in the warrant to address any material covered by attorney-client privilege.

The department is currently conducting a classified review of the seized material with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), it said, adding that ODNI is separately conducting an Intelligence Community assessment of the potential threat to national security. If they were ever exposed.

The search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, ordered by Attorney General Merrick Garland, marked a significant expansion of one of the many federal and state investigations Trump faces in connection with his office and private businesses.

The department is investigating Trump for illegal possession of national security information, violations of the Espionage Act, and whether he attempted to obstruct a criminal investigation.

In an unusual move last week, the Justice Department unsealed a redacted copy of a legal document that outlined the evidence it used to convince Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart to authorize a search warrant. read more

It revealed that Trump retained records related to the nation’s most closely guarded secrets, including intelligence gathering and confidential human sources.

The U.S. National Archives first discovered Trump’s retention of classified material in January after he returned 15 boxes of presidential records he kept at Mar-a-Lago.

After the FBI searched his home this month, it took additional items, including 11 more sets of classified records.

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Sarah N. The Lynch Report; Editing by Scott Malone and Bill Bergrod

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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