U.S. appeals court orders arguments next week in Trump records probe

FILE PHOTO: Pre-election rally held in support of Republican candidates in Dayton

By Jacqueline Thomsen

(Reuters) -A U.S. appeals court in Atlanta has set Nov. 22 arguments in the Justice Department's challenge to a judge's appointment of an independent arbiter to vet records seized by the FBI from former President Donald Trump's Florida estate in a process that could wall some of them off from a criminal investigation.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon in September named Raymond Dearie to serve as "special master" to review the records, granting a request made by Trump as he battles the department's investigation into his retention of sensitive government materials after leaving office last year.

The Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday set the date for the arguments. The department has asked the 11th Circuit to reverse Cannon's appointment of Dearie, who is a U.S. district judge.

Prosecutors have argued that Dearie's review is hindering their investigation. They are also asking to access roughly 11,000 records seized by FBI agents in the court-approved Aug. 8 search at Mar-a-Lago, Trump's property in Palm Beach.

Trump's attorneys sued two weeks after the search and sought the appointment of a special master to independently review the records. Trump last week asked the 11th Circuit to keep Dearie's review in place.

Trump is expected to launch his 2024 presidential candidacy at Mar-a-Lago later on Tuesday.

The 11th Circuit in September said the Justice Department could resume reviewing classified materials taken in the search after Cannon initially blocked access to them.

Trump's lawyers have argued that investigators should not have access to some of the documents because they are either personal or protected by executive privilege, a legal doctrine that allows a president to keep certain records or information secret.

(Reporting by Jacqueline Thomsen and Tyler Clifford; Editing by Will Dunham and Paul Grant)