- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 5, 2022

A federal appellate court on Wednesday agreed to expedite the Justice Department’s legal challenge to the appointment of a special master to review thousands of documents seized from former President Trump’s estate in Florida.

The order is a major victory for the Justice Department and a stinging defeat for Mr. Trump, who asked the court to wait until 2023 before hearing arguments in the case.

Issued by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, the order did not say which judges would hear arguments or when that would happen. It set a briefing schedule that wraps up on Nov. 17.

“Having consulted with the Chief Judge, the appeal will be assigned to a special merits panel from the classified appeals log randomly selected by the Clerk,” the court wrote. “That panel will decide when and how to hear oral arguments.

Mr. Trump’s legal team said this month they were too crunched for time to deal with this appeal and argued against fast-tracking the arguments. They said they were already stretched thin responding to the Justice Department case and the review of the seized materials by the special master.

The appeals court gave Mr. Trump until Nov. 10 to file his briefs, while the Justice Department has until Oct. 14.

Mr. Trump is seeking to keep the Justice Department from accessing about 100 documents with classified markings as part of its criminal probe into whether Mr. Trump mishandled government materials.

U.S District Judge Raymond Dearie last month was appointed special master and is overseeing the review of roughly 11,000 documents seized in the Aug. 9 raid of Mr. Trump’s office and residence at his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.

The order Wednesday is the second victory the 11th Circuit has handed to the Justice Department. It also partially blocked a Florida judge’s order that temporarily halted investigators from reviewing the seized documents.

On Tuesday, Mr. Trump asked the Supreme Court to reverse that ruling while the appeal is pending. The Justice Department’s response to the Supreme Court is due Tuesday.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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