A federal appeals court agreed to fast-track the Justice Department's appeal of a lower court's order requiring a special master review classified documents seized during an FBI search of former President Donald Trump's Florida home. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 5 (UPI) -- A federal appeals court agreed Wednesday to fast-track the Justice Department's appeal of a lower court order that requires a third-party special master review hundreds of documents seized during an FBI search at former President Donald Trump's Florida home.
The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals set a schedule, in the one-page order written by Circuit Judge Adalberto Jordan, requiring Trump and the Department of Justice to finish submitting all legal briefs by Nov. 17.
The court's decision to expedite the appeal comes one day after Trump's legal team urged the Supreme Court to intervene in its legal battle over the special master.
Now that the government's appeal has been expedited, the 11th Circuit could rule before appointed special master Judge Raymond Dearie has time to complete his review of the documents by the Dec. 16 deadline.
Trump's legal team has opposed expediting the case and argued for a hearing in January, at the earliest.
Trump requested a special master be appointed to review more than 100 classified documents, seized during the search, two weeks after FBI investigators arrived at his Mar-a-Lago residence Aug. 8.
Last month, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon granted Trump's request and appointed Dearie, after Trump suggested the FBI may have planted evidence. Cannon also rejected a request from the Justice Department to lift an injunction preventing investigators from reviewing the documents marked as classified until the review was completed.
Trump has argued that it is his right as a former president to hold some of the documents under executive privilege. The Justice Department claims any documents created while Trump served in office are not his personal property and are presidential records to be maintained by the National Archives.
The Justice Department's appeal, which was filed last month, challenges Cannon's decision to delay the criminal investigation to give the special master more time to review the documents.
A preliminary ruling from the 11th Circuit removed the documents from the special master's review and allowed the government to resume its investigation.
Last week, the Justice Department urged the court to move faster, while Trump's legal team escalated its fight yesterday and asked the Supreme Court to intervene in an emergency request.
"The unprecedented circumstances presented by this case -- an investigation of the forty-fifth President of the United States by the administration of his political rival and successor -- compelled the District Court to acknowledge the significant need for enhanced vigilance and to order the appointment of a Special Master to ensure fairness, transparency and maintenance of the public trust," the court filing states.
It is not clear whether the Supreme Court will take up Trump's request, submitted to Justice Clarence Thomas, who oversees cases that come from the 11th Circuit, which includes Florida. Thomas could issue a ruling or refer the request to the entire court by Tuesday.