Donald Trump’s request for a “special master” to supervise the investigation into his handling of confidential materials has been approved by the court.
For reportedly taking documents with him when he departed the White House, Mr. Trump is under investigation.
However, the “special master” is a third-party lawyer who makes the determination of whether any records are subject to executive or attorney-client privilege.
The action is considered as a victory for Mr. Trump and a setback for the prosecution.
Prosecutors had fiercely fought the appointment of the special master, which the former president had requested. The appointment is expected to slow down the justice department’s continuing criminal probe.
That’s because the judge has ordered the government to wait until the special master’s independent review is finished before studying or using the materials it has seized for its investigation.
Documents kept at the Florida residence of former President Donald Trump were reportedly hidden, according to Department of Justice officials, in an effort to thwart an FBI inquiry.
The National Archives is the organization that US presidents are required by law to transfer these documents to after leaving office, according to the authorities.
Meanwhile, Mr. Trump insists he did nothing illegal and claims that as president, he declassified all the records and kept them safely at his Mar-a-Lago residence.
Trump’s request was rejected by the Department of Justice, which said that any presidential records found during the FBI’s search at Mar-a-Lago on August 8 “belong to the United States, not to the former president.”
The length of the special master’s review is uncertain.
Attorney-client privilege, a provision of US law that permits clients to keep discussions with their lawyers private, is claimed to apply to some of the records, according to Mr. Trump’s attorneys.
Additionally, his legal team has asserted “executive privilege” over the records, which enables presidents to conceal some interactions.
However, considering that the documents have previously been examined, some legal experts claim that these actions are only a stalling ploy.
Professor of law and authority on US constitutional law Aziz Huq told the BBC that the request for a special master was just “putting sand in the wheels” before the decision was made.
“I don’t understand why a particular master is necessary. The government generally uses a special master before seeing the underlying materials, but in this case, the government has already seen them, according to a former law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
E Danya Perry, a former federal prosecutor who formerly served as New York’s deputy attorney general, observed: “What really strikes me here is it’s too late… The genie cannot be put back in the bottle, and the egg cannot be unbroken. These papers have been examined.