Former U.S. President Donald Trump
Judge Names Raymond Dearie Special Master To Review Mar-a-Lago Documents Getty Images | James Devaney/GC Images

A unanimous federal appeals court on Thursday ended special master's review of documents that were seized from former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate in August.

According to CNN, the ruling removes a major obstacle to the Department of Justice's probe into the mishandling of U.S. government records from Trump’s time in the White House. It was seen as a hurdle that the Justice Department said had delayed its criminal investigation.

While the decision by the three-judge panel was a major defeat for Trump, it represented a significant win for federal prosecutors. It cleared the way for them to use as part of their probe the entire tranche of documents that were seized during an Aug. 8 Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) search of Mar-a-Lago. It also amounted to a sharp rejection of arguments by Trump’s lawyers. For months they had said that the former President was entitled to have a “special master” conduct a neutral review of the thousands of documents taken from his property, reported the Associated Press.

The ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit had been expected, given the skeptical questions that the judges directed at a Trump lawyer during arguments last week. Also, because two of the three judges on the panel had already ruled in favor of the DOJ in an earlier dispute over the special master. The decision was a unanimous one from the panel consisting of Republican appointees. Two of them were selected by Trump. They rejected each argument by Trump and his lawyers for why a special master was necessary. It included his claims that various seized records were protected by executive privilege or attorney-client privilege.

The judges wrote that it was "extraordinary" for a warrant to be executed at the home of a former President. But it was not extraordinary in a way that "affects our legal analysis or otherwise gives the judiciary license to interfere in an ongoing investigation."

A Trump spokesperson told Fox News that the panel’s decision was "purely procedural and based only on jurisdiction," and that the decision did not address the merits that "clearly demonstrate the impropriety of the unprecedented, illegal, and unwarranted raid on Mar-a-Lago." The spokesperson added that Trump will "continue to fight against the weaponized Department of 'Justice,' while standing for America and Americans."

Donald Trump
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during an event at his Mar-a-Lago home on November 15, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump announced that he was seeking another term in office and officially launched his 2024 presidential campaign. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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