Trump Lawyers Oppose Justice Department Effort to Regain Access to Seized Documents

Washington- Lawyers for former President Donald Trump on Monday urged a federal judge to continue to block Justice Department investigators from reviewing more than 100 sensitive documents seized by the FBI during its Mar-a-Lago search, the last in the back-and-forth legal. between the former president’s legal team and federal prosecutors.

in a 21 page answer Responding to a Justice Department request asking the court to lift part of an order blocking the documents from being used for investigative purposes, Trump’s lawyers called the federal investigation into his handling of sensitive records “unprecedented and misguided.” ” and said “there is no indication that the alleged ‘classified records’ were disclosed to anyone.”

“In fact, it appears that said ‘classified records’, along with the other materials seized, were located primarily in storage boxes in a locked room at Mar-a-Lago, a secure and controlled access complex regularly used to carry conduct the official business of the United States during the Trump presidency, which to this day is monitored by the United States Secret Service,” Trump’s legal team told the court.

in a separate presentation On Monday afternoon, the former president’s lawyers also opposed the two candidates proposed by the Justice Department: retired judges Barbara Jones, who served on the US District Court in Manhattan, and Thomas Griffith, who served on the US Court of Appeals in Washington. to serve as an independent third party to review records seized by the FBI during its Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago.

Trump’s legal team did not elaborate on why the former president opposes the Justice Department’s special master suggestions, telling the court that “it is more respectful to candidates of either party to conceal the basis of opposition from the public, and it is are likely to circulate widely. , Pleading.” They asked the court for permission to express their objections to Jones and Griffith only if the judge “specifies a desire to obtain and consider that information.”

The filings by Trump’s lawyers are the latest to stem from his request last month that a neutral third party review materials seized by federal investigators. US District Judge Aileen Cannon authorized the appointment of the special teacher last week, and federal prosecutors notified federal court in South Florida last week of his intention to appeal Cannon’s decision.

Lawyers for the Department of Justice, including its top national security officials, also asked cannon to put part of his ruling on hold to allow investigators to continue reviewing a stretch of 103 records marked “confidential,” “top secret” or “secret.”

Federal prosecutors argued in court documents that the classification marks “establish on the face of the documents that they are government records,” not Trump’s personal records. They warned that the government and the general public will suffer what they see as “irreparable harm” if the materials cannot be reviewed and used in the criminal investigation into the former president’s handling of sensitive records.

The Justice Department also told the court last week that temporarily blocking investigators from reviewing and using the most sensitive records taken from Mar-a-Lago “would frustrate the government’s ability to conduct an effective review of classification and assessment of national security risks and could prevent the government from taking necessary corrective action in light of that review,” risking harm to the national security and intelligence interests of the United States.

But opposing federal prosecutors’ motion, attorneys for the former president argued Monday that he had “broad authority” to declassify documents and, as a former president, has an “unlimited right” to access presidential records under the Presidential Records. The controversy over the records, they told the court, is a “document storage dispute that has gotten out of hand.”

“[T]The government improperly seeks to criminalize the 45th president’s possession of his own presidential and personal records,” Trump’s attorneys said.

In his ruling last week granting Trump’s request for a special teacher, Cannon ordered the Justice Department to temporarily stop “reviewing and using” the materials for investigative purposes until the review was completed by the special master. However, he allowed the government to continue reviewing and using the seized records for “intelligence classification purposes and national security assessments.”

Cannon had directed Trump and the Justice Department to submit by Friday a list of candidates to serve as special master, along with a proposed description of the mechanics of their review.

While the Department of Justice put forward Jones and Griffith as candidates to serve as special master, Trump’s attorneys also put forward two candidates to review the seized materials: Raymond Dearie, former chief judge of the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York, and Paul Huck, former Attorney General. Florida Governor Charlie Crist.

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