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Judge formally dismisses Trump special master requirement

Dec. 12 (UPI) — A federal judge on Monday dismissed former President Donald Trump’s lawsuit attempting to block government access to the thousands of documents taken by FBI agents from his Florida home in August.

The one-page ruling from U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida Judge Aileen Cannon formally ends the process to have a so-called “special master” oversee and review the documents.

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Monday’s ruling comes four days after Trump declined to appeal a ruling from earlier this month, which reversed Cannon’s original decision. Trump could have sought to appeal to the Supreme Court but opted not to.

On Dec. 1, a federal appeals court stopped the third-party review of government documents seized from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort home in Palm Beach, Fla.

At the time, the unanimous ruling by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, meant the special master, U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie, no longer had jurisdiction to review and potentially exclude documents from Justice Department officials and prosecutors.

The appeals court agreed with the Justice Department’s assertions that Cannon overstepped her bounds when she initially agreed to appoint the special master and quashed the review. The department said from the outset that the third-party review was unwarranted.

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That compelled Cannon to dismiss, making Monday’s announcement a formality.

“This case is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction,” Cannon, a Trump appointee wrote in her brief ruling on Monday.

“Any scheduled hearings are canceled, any pending motions are denied as moot, and all deadlines are terminated.”

Her formal dismissal of the case ends the legal jockeying that began in the immediate aftermath of the FBI raid, where agents searched for classified documents Trump removed from the White House at the end of his presidency.

In September, a judge unsealed an inventory list of the items seized in the raid, including thousands of documents — dozens of which were marked secret and top secret — as well as empty folders marked with secret classification markings, raising concerns about whether all documents had been retrieved.

The FBI also took more than 10,000 other documents that were not classified, which included newspaper and magazine clippings.

White House papers are federal property and must be handed over to the National Archives when a president leaves office.

In November, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed longtime federal prosecutor Jack Smith as special counsel to decide whether to criminally charge Trump in relation to the classified documents investigation.

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