The Trump appointed judge seems to have stretched (politically?) to help the ex-President’s case….
The call was out a limb, and is being widely criticised ….
The judge has done something one expert calls ‘laughably bad’..…
Siding with Mr. Trump, the judge, Aileen M. Cannon, ordered the appointment of an independent arbiter to review the more than 11,000 government records the F.B.I. seized in its search of Mar-a-Lago last month. She granted the arbiter, known as a special master, broad powers that extended beyond filtering materials that were potentially subject to attorney-client privilege to also include executive privilege.
Judge Cannon, a Trump appointee who sits on the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida, also blocked federal prosecutors from further examining the seized materials for the investigation until the special master had completed a review.
In reaching that result, Judge Cannon took several steps that specialists said were vulnerable to being overturned if the government files an appeal, as most agreed was likely. Any appeal would be heard by the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, where Mr. Trump appointed six of its 11 active judges.
Paul Rosenzweig, a former homeland security official in the George W. Bush administration and prosecutor in the independent counsel investigation of Bill Clinton, said it was egregious to block the Justice Department from steps like asking witnesses about government files, many marked as classified, that agents had already reviewed.
“This would seem to me to be a genuinely unprecedented decision by a judge,” Mr. Rosenzweig said. “Enjoining the ongoing criminal investigation is simply untenable.”…
After Judge Cannon was assigned to Mr. Trump’s special master lawsuit, she made the unusual move of publicly declaring that she was inclined to instate one even before hearing arguments from the Justice Department. But she could have done so in a far more modest fashion.
“Judge Cannon had a reasonable path she could have taken — to appoint a special master to review documents for attorney-client privilege and allow the criminal investigation to continue otherwise,” said Ryan Goodman, a New York University law professor. “Instead, she chose a radical path.”
A specialist in separation of powers, Peter M. Shane, who is a legal scholar in residence at N.Y.U., said there was no basis for Judge Cannon to expand a special master’s authority to screen materials that were also potentially subject to executive privilege. That tool is normally thought of as protecting internal executive branch deliberations from disclosure to outsiders like Congress.
“The opinion seems oblivious to the nature of executive privilege,” he said…
Ronald S. Sullivan Jr., a Harvard Law School professor, said anyone targeted by a search warrant fears reputational harm, but that does not mean they can get special masters appointed. He called Judge Cannon’s reasoning “thin at best” and giving “undue weight” to the fact that Mr. Trump is a former president.
“I find that deeply problematic,” he said, emphasizing that the criminal justice system was supposed to treat everyone equally. “This court is giving special considerations to the former president that ordinary, everyday citizens do not receive.”
Samuel W. Buell, a Duke University law professor, agreed.
“To any lawyer with serious federal criminal court experience who is being honest, this ruling is laughably bad, and the written justification is even flimsier,” he wrote in an email. “Donald Trump is getting something no one else ever gets in federal court, he’s getting it for no good reason, and it will not in the slightest reduce the ongoing howls that he is being persecuted, when he is being privileged.”