Former US President Donald Trump does not plan to appeal to the Supreme Court after a lower court put an end to the special master review of documents seized from his Mar-a-Lago estate, a source familiar with the matter told CNN on Thursday.
Last week, a federal appeals court ruled that a lower court judge had erred when she ordered the appointment of a third party, or special master, to review about 100 classified documents that investigators found when they searched his Florida home in August.
The former president’s legal team previously argued that they needed an outside expert to decide whether any of documents found at Mar-a-Lago could be privileged. They had until Thursday to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
Thursday’s decision comes after the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals issued a blistering opinion favoring the Biden Justice Department and reversed US District Judge Aileen Cannon’s order that called for a “special master” to determine which documents should be off-limits to the investigators. The three-judge panel had said Cannon, an appointee of Trump’s, should not have intervened in the first place.
The appeals court said that its new ruling would take effect unless a party in the case successfully sought an order – known as a stay – pausing the ruling from going into effect while it is appealed.
Trump had sought the special master in the weeks after the August search, securing the court order from Cannon. Judge Raymond Dearie, a senior judge who sits in Brooklyn, had been tasked by Cannon with leading the review of the thousands of documents that remained.
Lawyers for the Justice Department argued that the special master process stood to drag out for several weeks, if not months, impeding the probe into the documents. Prosecutors said that without access to the other documents, they could not question witnesses about the materials that had been found intermixed with classified records at Mar-a-Lago.
The Justice Department effort is now being led by special counsel Jack Smith, who was recently appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland to helm that probe and another investigation into efforts to reverse Trump’s 2020 election loss.