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Appeals court halts special master review of documents seized at Mar-a-Lago in major defeat for Trump

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   (CNN) -- In a major defeat for former President Donald Trump, a federal appeals court on Thursday halted a third-party review of documents seized from his Mar-a-Lago estate.

The ruling removes a major obstacle to the Justice Department's investigation into the mishandling of government records from Trump's time in the White House.

In a ruling on Thursday, the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court's order appointing a so-called special master to sort through thousands of documents found at Trump's home to determine what should be off limits to investigators.

"The law is clear," the appeals court wrote. "We cannot write a rule that allows any subject of a search warrant to block government investigations after the execution of the warrant. Nor can we write a rule that allows only former presidents to do so."

The 11th Circuit said that either approach would be a "radical reordering of our caselaw limiting the federal courts' involvement in criminal investigations" and that "both would violate bedrock separation-of-powers limitations."

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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