To be clear, prosecutors have not finished challenging U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon’s handling of the case. The Justice Department is attempting to expedite its appeal of a ruling that delayed its investigation into documents seized at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.
In a move submitted to the 11th United States Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday evening, the Department of Justice requested that an accelerated timeline be established for the appeal.
The appeal filed by the Justice Department earlier this month challenges Judge Cannon’s decision to halt the criminal investigation for months so that a judge-appointed arbitrator known as a “special master” could examine the evidence.
In a preliminary victory for the Justice Department, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed a portion of Judge Cannon’s injunction on September 21. The court ruled that the government was permitted to resume studying around one hundred papers marked as classified, thus removing those records from the purview of the special master’s investigation.
In their brief on Friday, the prosecutors claimed that the injunction issued by Judge Cannon continued to do them harm. They argued that a strong public interest in expediting the criminal and national security investigation underlies these proceedings. Still, portions of the district court’s injunction that have not been stayed restrict the government’s ability to prove it. The special master procedure prevents the prosecutors from reviewing the thousands of documents at this time. Thus, the prosecutors have stated that the materials “may represent evidence of crimes.”
When Judge Cannon decided to appoint a special master, she explained to the public that the review process would comfort them and that the inquiry was being carried out in an impartial manner. She delegated the duty of evaluating the confiscated records and separating out any of the confidential materials to Senior United States District Judge Raymond Dearie, who has served on the federal bench in Brooklyn for many years.
The Department of Justice argued against the appointment of a special master, stating that it already possessed a sufficient procedure to adequately screen out confidential documents.
The review was termed as a temporary halt to enable an objective, third-party evaluation to guarantee a just procedure with proper protections, according to Judge Cannon.
Taylor Budowich, a spokeswoman for President Trump, stated that the Department of Justice was picking a battle that did not need to be picked with its request for an expedited appeal.