In a filing on Monday (August 29), the Department of Justice revealed it had conducted an initial review of the privileged material seized from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.
The news of the review — which included the DOJ setting aside items possibly covered by attorney-client privilege — could undermine Trump’s efforts to have a special master installed to review the seized material before the DOJ could.
The purpose of the special master would be to assess the material seized by the FBI, screening for personal property or privileged information. This material would then be removed from the DOJ’s investigation. Yet, most believed the insistence of Trump’s legal team to appoint a special master was a delay tactic.
This tactic could be thwarted following the revelation that in the two weeks since the warrant was executed on Trump’s residence, a filter team of DOJ employees not working on the case has been reviewing the evidence.
In Monday’s filing, U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez states the filter team “identified a limited set of materials that potentially contain attorney-client privileged information.”
The revelation of a functioning filter team also negates Trump’s reasoning for a special master, which a judge in the case has asked Trump’s legal team to expand upon.
Monday’s filing follows the FBI submitting redactions for the affidavit that prompted the judge to sign a search warrant. Initially, the agency objected to the release of the affidavit but conceded after a judge ordered them to submit redactions.