A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that a judge’s order appointing a special master to review documents seized at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort should be thrown out.
The ruling by a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit lifts previous restrictions on the Justice Department’s examination of classified documents and other records and will allow investigators to proceed with the investigation more quickly.
The panel said U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon’s September order to appoint an arbitrator and prevent the government from using a trove of documents she recovered from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort on Aug. 8 with a search warrant it was incorrect.
“The law is clear. We cannot write a rule that would allow any subject of a search warrant to block government investigations after the execution of the warrant,” the panel wrote. “Accordingly, we agree with the government that the district court improperly exercised equal jurisdiction and that the dismissal of the entire proceeding is required.”
In a separate order, the panel said its order will take effect in seven days, barring any intervention by the Supreme Court. Trump could appeal Thursday’s ruling and request that the appeals court order be stayed.
NBC News has reached out to a Trump spokesperson for comment.
The appeals court ruling reverses Cannon’s appointment of Raymond J. Dearie, a US District Judge for the Eastern District of New York, to review all materials recovered from Mar-a-Lago after Trump’s team argued that they could not trust a so-called leak team at the Justice Department to set aside any privileged documents. The filter team is separate from the investigators conducting the criminal investigation.
Legal experts at the time criticized Cannon decision to grant Trump’s request for an independent review, with many questioning the implementation process and warning that the government’s eventual appeal would likely drag out the investigation further.
Two of the three judges on the appeals court panel, Britt Grant and Andrew Brasher, were Trump appointees. The third, Chief Justice Brill Pryor, was appointed by former President George W. Bush.