A judge on Thursday rejected DOJ’s request to resume its probe into Trump’s handling of docs.
In her ruling, US District Court Judge Aileen Cannon cited vague concerns of “media leaks.”
Prosecutors meanwhile, continue to warn of the highly sensitive nature of the retrieved records.
A federal judge on Thursday cited vague descriptions of supposed “media leaks” in rejecting a Justice Department demand to resume part of its probe into former President Donald Trump’s handling of records marked classified that FBI agents retrieved from his Mar-a-Lago resort last month.
In the ruling, US District Court Judge Aileen Cannon put a halt to the department’s investigation for the duration of the special master review, saying that no charges can be brought against Trump using the retrieved documents in the meantime. In her ruling, she suggested that the government would not “suffer an irreparable injury” to its probe due to a delay by the review.
But the judge did suggest that alleged “leaks to the media” posed a genuine threat, despite offering no examples of any such leaks.
“There has been no actual suggestion by the Government of any identifiable emergency or imminent disclosure of classified information arising from Plaintiff’s allegedly unlawful retention of the seized property,” Cannon wrote. “Instead, and unfortunately, the unwarranted disclosures that float in the background have been leaks to the media after the underlying seizure.”
Cannon previously noted concerns of media leaks in a prior ruling on the matter.
Meanwhile, Trump, himself, has been the most outspoken commentator on the case, posting frequent social media updates about the search and subsequent legal process.
Trump has denied wrongdoing and said the DOJ’s actions are political.
In the ruling, Cannon also appointed a special master who will help review the 100 or so documents in question — effectively ignoring DOJ’s insistence that the records contain such sensitive defense information that they could impact national security.
The DOJ had requested the most sensitive documents be turned over directly to investigators as part of an ongoing criminal probe into how the former president handled the materials. The agency last week appealed Cannon’s previous order to appoint a special master and threatened to seek an emergency stay from the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta if she did not agree to delay aspects of her ruling by Thursday night.
The most recent ruling is yet another disappointment for federal prosecutors who continue to ring the alarm bell about the sensitive nature of the documents discovered at Trump’s personal residence.
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