(NewsGlobal.com)- Former President Donald Trump won a major victory in court early this week when a federal judge granted his request for an independent third party to review all of the documents that the FBI seized from his Mar-a-Lago home.
In making that ruling, the judge also barred the federal government on a temporary basis from going through the documents any further to build their criminal investigation surrounding Trump.
Aileen Cannon, a U.S. District judge who Trump appointed to the position, said federal government officials were allowed to still access the documents. However, they could do so only for the limited purpose of continuing their review of national security issues that they’ve already started.
In the ruling, Cannon said:
“The investigation and treatment of a former president is of unique interest to the general public, and the country is served best by an orderly process that promotes the interest and perception of fairness.”
Cannon further ruled that the independent third party, termed a “special master,” would have the ability to review all of the documents to see if any were covered by both executive privilege and attorney-client privilege.
In arguing their side of the case, the Department of Justice claimed a former president didn’t have the ability to assert executive privilege over the ruling of a current administration. Cannon, though, said that the Supreme Court hadn’t yet ruled on that matter.
That nod to the Supreme Court could be a precursor for a long and tough battle ahead for the DOJ as it looks to ramp up its criminal investigation against Trump. That likely delay alone could be enough to deter the DOJ from appealing Cannon’s ruling. In other words, they might decide against appealing this decision and take the loss, just so they could speed up their overall criminal investigation against Trump.
It’s a major legal victory for Trump, and possibly even the Republican Party as a whole. That’s because the further investigation into Trump may be delayed until after the November midterm elections.
In a statement issued Monday, Anthony Coley, a spokesman for the DOJ, said:
“The United States is examining the opinion and will consider appropriate next steps in the ongoing litigation.”
Trump issued a statement of his own following the ruling, saying:
“It takes courage and ‘guts’ to fight a totally corrupt Department of ‘Justice’ and the FBI.”
Trump has said that the entire criminal investigation into him and how he retained government records is all politically motivated.
In commenting on the situation for Bloomberg, a former employee for the DOJ, South Florida attorney Richard Serafini, said:
“It is a setback for DOJ. The biggest problem for DOJ was the inclusion of executive privilege. That, at least, suggests that former President Trump had a possessory interest in the documents taken from the White House.”
Both sides in the case now must submit a proposal for how to move forward to the judge. Cannon set a deadline of September 9 as when lawyers for both Trump and the DOJ could submit candidates for the position of special master.