A federal judge in the state of Florida granted former US President Donald Trump’s request to appoint an independent lawyer to review the materials seized during an FBI search of his Mar a Lago estate last month, world agencies reported.
The ruling represents a legal victory for Trump. It was issued despite the objections of the US Department of Justice, the Associated Press reported.
The court also temporarily halted the Justice Department’s use of the seized materials for investigative purposes.
Judge Eileen Cannon allowed an outside legal expert to review documents seized in an Aug. 8 search of Trump’s mansion. Independent counsel must exclude from the scope of the investigation any material that may be protected under the principle of attorney-client privilege or the right of members of the executive branch to keep communications confidential in certain circumstances.
The former president requested that a similar review be conducted to determine whether among the seized documents there are no materials that fall into these categories.
According to Trump’s lawyers, the appointment of an outside legal expert is necessary to provide an independent review of the seized materials and to ensure that if any personal information or documents are among them, they are removed from the scope of the investigation and returned to the former president.
The Department of Justice opposed the appointment of an independent lawyer, insisting that it was not necessary because the department had already reviewed documents that could potentially be confidential.
The department and Trump’s lawyers have until Friday to submit a list of proposed candidates for an outside legal expert.