U.S. court rejects appointment of special master in Trump documents case

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta has voided the ruling approving a special master to examine classified documents removed from ex-president Donald Trump’s residence. 

The Department of Justice now has the green light to investigate how Mr Trump handled sensitive government records. The U.S. ex-president’s request for a special master has been holding up the investigation for the previous three months.

District Court Judge Aileen Cannon, appointed by Mr Trump, had in September okayed a special master to review the sensitive files and forbade investigators from using the documents for investigations, a decision the appellate court highly criticised.

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

A three-member panel of the appellate court overturned the district court’s decision on the grounds that interfering with an ongoing investigation is against the law and that Mr Trump is not an exception.

“Accordingly, we agree with the government that the district court improperly exercised equitable jurisdiction and that dismissal of the entire proceeding is required,” the appellate court asserted. 

It added, “To create a special exception here would defy our Nation’s foundational principle that our law applies ‘to all, without regard to numbers, wealth, or rank.’”

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