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U.S. appeals court rules against Trump in documents fight, ends special master appointment


A redacted FBI photograph of documents and classified cover sheets recovered from a container stored in former U.S. president Donald Trump’s Florida estate, and which was included in a U.S. Department of Justice filing and released August 30, 2022. U.S. Department of Justice/Handout via REUTERS

A U.S. appeals court on Thursday reversed a judge’s appointment of a special master to vet documents seized by the FBI from former President Donald Trump’s Florida home.

A three-judge panel of the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Justice Department in its challenge to a September ruling by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon.

The 11th Circuit overturned Cannon’s decision to grant Trump’s request for a special master to vet the records to decide if some should be kept from investigators and to bar investigators from accessing most of the records pending the review.

“The law is clear. We cannot write a rule that allows any subject of a search warrant to block government investigations after the execution of the warrant,” the panel said. “Nor can we write a rule that allows only former presidents to do so.”

The appeals court ordered the dismissal of Trump’s lawsuit filed after the Aug. 8 raid of his Florida estate.

Trump is likely to appeal the 11th Circuit’s action to the conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court.