Trump lawsuit: What is a special master and why does Trump want one?

The legal team representing former President Donald Trump has requested that a “special master” be appointed to oversee the documents seized by the Justice Department during the search of his Florida home.

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Trump said he wants the FBI to return any items that weren’t targeted in the search warrant, and his lawyers say the DOJ “failed to legitimize its historic decision” to search Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.

A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment on the case, Trump v. United States Government.

What is a special master and why does Trump want one? Here’s what we know now.

What is a special master?

A special master is a third-party attorney who is appointed by a judge to oversee some portion of a legal case.

According to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, judges appoint special masters to aid in handling pretrial and post-trial matters tried without a jury “that cannot be addressed effectively and timely by an available district court judge or magistrate judge of the district.”

A special master may, “if conducting an evidentiary hearing, exercise the appointing court’s power to compel, take, and record evidence.”

A special master may evaluate and rule on the admissibility of evidence in a trial, and will at the end of his or her duties produce a report on their work.

Why does Trump want a special master?

Trump is requesting the judge appoint a special master to oversee the review of evidence gathered at Mar-a-Lago. His lawyers have requested that the judge pause the DOJ’s investigation into the items taken from Mar-a-Lago until the special master can complete the review, according to the court filing on Monday.