The Department of Justice has admitted that they may have taken a “limited” amount of documents protected by attorney-client privilege when they raided former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.
In a filing on Monday, U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez wrote that their team reviewed and “identified a limited set of materials that potentially contain attorney-client privileged information.”
Judge Aileen M. Cannon of the Southern District of Florida announced her “preliminary intent to appoint a special master” on Saturday after a request was made by Trump’s legal team.
Two days later, the DOJ said that the review was conducted before the court issued a preliminary order to appoint a special master to do it.
“[T]he Privilege Review Team … identified a limited set of materials that potentially contain attorney-client privileged information, completed its review of those materials, and is in the process of following the procedures set forth in paragraph 84 of the search warrant affidavit to address potential privilege disputes, if any,” the DOJ filing said, according to a report from Fox News.
According to the report, the DOJ also said that they and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence “are currently facilitating a classification review of materials recovered pursuant to the search” and that “ODNI is also leading an intelligence community assessment of the potential risk to national security that would result from the disclosure of these materials.”
Trump’s legal team has argued that the decision to raid Mar-a-Lago, and the timing, was politically motivated to impact the midterm elections in November. They said that it “involved political calculations aimed at diminishing the leading voice in the Republican Party, President Trump.”
Six days after the August 8 raid, Trump had posted on his social media platform Truth Social demanding the return of privileged documents.
Fox News reported at the time that, “the former president’s team was informed that boxes labeled A-14, A-26, A-43, A-13, A-33, and a set of documents—all seen on the final page of the FBI’s property receipt —contained information covered by attorney-client privilege.”
“Oh great! It has just been learned that the FBI, in its now famous raid of Mar-a-Lago, took boxes of privileged ‘attorney-client’ material, and also ‘executive’ privileged material, which they knowingly should not have taken,” Trump wrote. “By copy of this TRUTH, I respectfully request that these documents be immediately returned to the location from which they were taken. Thank you!”