Trump case: No immediate decision on outside legal expert

Adriana Gomez-Lcon and Eric Tucker, Associated Press

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida. A federal judge heard arguments Thursday about whether to hire an outside legal expert to review government records seized last month by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) during a search of former US President Donald Trump’s home, Florida. There was no immediate decision, but the judge indicated last week that she was inclined to agree to the request and asked on Thursday, “What’s the harm?” In such a meeting.

Donald Trump’s lawyers say the appointment of a specialized expert is necessary to ensure an independent examination of the documents. This type of review, they say, would separate “highly personal information” such as diaries or diaries and send it back to Mr. Trump, along with any other documents that might be protected by privacy claims, attorney privilege and client or executive privilege.

Chris Case, Donald Trump’s attorney, told Southern Florida District Judge Eileen Cannon that appointing a neutral party would restore public confidence in the investigation.

“It’s an unprecedented situation,” Kiss told me. According to him, it is necessary to calm down the storm and “breathe deeply.”

The Justice Department said the appointment was not justified because investigators had completed their review of potentially privileged records and identified “a limited set of documents that may contain privileged attorney-client information.” The government also claims that Mr. Trump has no legal basis to demand the return of presidential documents, as they do not belong to him as he no longer holds the White House.

He is no longer president. He illegally possessed it,” said Jay Pratt, the head of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence division.

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The department also expressed concerns that the appointment could delay the investigation, in part because the specialist would likely need to obtain security clearance to review records and obtain special permission from intelligence agencies.

But Judge Cannon, who said she would issue a written ruling at some point, pressed the government on the point, asking, “In the end, what’s the harm?”

Cannon said Saturday, before final arguments on the matter, that its “initial intention” was to appoint a specialist expert. It was not clear if she could make a final decision on Thursday or how her view might be affected by the fact that the Justice Department says it has already reviewed the potentially privileged documents.

It is also unclear who this outside expert might be. In some notable past cases, the role was assigned by a former federal judge.

Donald Trump nominated Judge Cannon in 2020 and was confirmed by Senate 56-21 later that year. She is the former Assistant Attorney General of the United States in Florida, where she primarily handled criminal appeals.

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