- The Washington Times
Monday, October 3, 2022

Lawyers for former President Donald Trump on Monday asked a federal appeals court to delay legal arguments until 2023 over the appointment of a special master to review documents seized from Mr. Trump‘s Mar-a-Lago estate.

The Trump team asked the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta to reject the Justice Department‘s request to expedite arguments over the appointment of the special master. Mr. Trump‘s lawyers said they are swamped trying to deal with the special master review and other legal battles stemming from the FBI’s Aug. 8 search.

The task includes reviewing more than 11,000 documents totaling roughly 200,000 pages to determine if they are protected by attorney-client privilege or executive privilege, they said.

Mr. Trump‘s lawyers said there is “no good cause” why Mr. Trump should have “significantly less time” than the government to prepare arguments before the appellate court.

They said oral arguments shouldn’t take place until January 2023 at the earliest.

The Justice Department has asked the court to set a Nov. 11 deadline to file briefs and schedule oral arguments shortly after that. Government lawyers argued that delaying the hearing blocks investigators from using the seized materials in their criminal and national security probe into whether Mr. Trump mishandled classified documents.

But Mr. Trump‘s lawyers said the Justice Department has had more time to prepare for the arguments than they have because of all the court actions surrounding the case.

“The government, on the other hand, cannot possibly be prejudiced if this appeal is not expedited and President Trump is afforded the few extra days provided under the rules to file this brief,” they wrote.

The order appointing the special master halts the Justice Department from using most of the 11,000 seized documents in its criminal probe of Mr. Trump. U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie, the special master, is deciding whether any documents should be off limits to investigators because of privilege protections.

In an unusual footnote, Mr. Trump‘s attorneys assailed the FBI’s execution of a search warrant at his residence.

“President Trump disagrees with and objects to the government’s distorted and argumentative presentation of facts concerning the unprecedented raid of his home, its conduct in these proceedings, and the procedural history of the case,” they wrote.

The filing was one of two key motions in the dispute. In a separate filing before a Florida federal judge, the Justice Department said their filter team, which is reviewing the document for possible privilege claims, has completed its review.

They said a few documents are potentially privileged, and requested permission to file the materials under seal. 

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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