DOJ 'taint team' examining Trump Mar-a-Lago documents
A Department of Justice "taint" or "filter" team has been reviewing documents seized by the FBI during its raid on former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, Fox News has learned.
A senior law enforcement official familiar with the process told Fox News that the review began soon after the search warrant was executed on Aug. 8.
The official said that it is standard procedure for the Justice Department to use a "taint" or "filter" team to go through documents obtained during a search — in part to identify records that may be protected by attorney-client privilege.
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Fox News first reported last week that FBI agents seized boxes containing records covered by attorney-client privilege and potentially executive privilege during the raid.
Sources familiar with the investigation have told Fox News that the former president’s team was informed that boxes labeled A-14, A-26, A-43, A-13, A-33, as well as a set of documents — all seen on the final page of the FBI’s property receipt — contained information covered by attorney-client privilege.
Attorney-client privilege refers to a legal privilege that keeps communications between an attorney and their client confidential. It is unclear, at this point, if the records include communications between the former president and his private attorneys, White House counsel during the Trump administration, or a combination.
Sources told Fox News that some records could be covered by executive privilege, which gives the president and other officials within the executive branch the authority to withhold certain sensitive forms of advice and consultation between the president and senior advisers.
The Justice Department’s use of a "taint" or "filter" team, while standard procedure, could complicate Trump’s legal team’s efforts for the appointment of an independent special master to examine the seized records, as it is likely they have already been inspected by DOJ officials.
Trump's lawyers, in a motion to request the appointment of a special master Monday evening in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, stressed that a "filter team" "will not protect President Trump's rights."
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According to the motion filed Monday, Trump and his legal team are seeking an order to appoint a special master to review the records obtained during the search; blocks the further review of seized materials by the government until a special master is appointed; requires the Justice Department to provide a more detailed receipt for property; and requires the government to return any item seized that was not within the scope of the search warrant.
"For the foregoing reasons, President Donald J. Trump respectfully requests that this Court issue an order that: appoints a Special Master; enjoins further review of seized materials by the Government until a Special Master is appointed; requires the Government to provide a more detailed Receipt for Property; and requires the Government to return any item seized that was not within the scope of the Search Warrant," the motion states.
The motion also states that the government "has long treated President Donald J. Trump unfairly."
"The FBI and DOJ have demonstrated a willingness to treat President Trump differently than any other citizen," the motion reads, citing the two years of the "noisy" Trump-Russia investigations and more.
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Trump and his legal team stressed that "politics cannot be allowed to impact the administration of justice," saying the decision to raid the former president's private residence just months before the 2022 midterm elections "involved political calculations aimed at diminishing the leading voice in the Republican Party, President Trump."
Judge Bruce Reinhart earlier on Monday admitted that the FBI's raid on Mar-a-Lago home was "unprecedented" and formally rejected the Justice Department's argument to keep the affidavit leading to the search under seal, citing the "intense public and historical interest."
Fox News' Bradford Betz contributed to this report. Read more of this story on FOX News.