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 raid, the last of the legal back and forth. between the former president’s legal team and federal prosecutors.
In a 21 page response To a Justice Department request for the court to lift part of an order blocking the use of the documents for investigative purposes, Trump’s lawyers called the federal probe into his handling of sensitive records ” unprecedented and erroneous,” and said there was “no indication the alleged ‘classified records’ have not been disclosed to anyone.”
“Indeed, it appears that these ‘classified files’, along with the other materials seized, were primarily in storage boxes in a locked room at Mar-a-Lago, a secure, controlled-access compound regularly used to conduct investigations. 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 space deposit On Monday afternoon, the former president’s lawyers also opposed the two nominees put forward by the Justice Department – retired justices Barbara Jones, who served on the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, and Thomas Griffith, who served on the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington — to serve as an independent third party reviewing records seized by the FBI in 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 lead suggestions, telling the court “he’s more respectful to candidates of either parties to hold back the opposition bases from a public, and likely to be widely publicized, pleading.” They asked the court for permission to express their objections to Jones and Griffith only if the judge “specifies his desire to obtain and review this information.”
The documents filed by Trump’s attorneys are the latest following his request last month for a neutral third party to review documents collected by federal investigators. U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannonof the special master last week, and federal prosecutors in South Florida federal court last week of their intention to appeal Cannon’s decision.
Lawyers for the Justice Department, including its top national security officials, have alsoto suspend part of its decision to allow investigators to continue examining a slice of 103 files marked “confidential”, “top secret” or “secret”.
Federal prosecutors argued in court papers that the classification marks “establish on the face of the documents that they are government records,” not Trump’s personal records. They warned the government and general public will suffer what they say is “irreparable harm” if the documents 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 hamper the government’s ability to conduct an effective assessment of the cases.” national security risks and classification review and could prevent the government from taking necessary corrective action in light of such review,” risking harm to U.S. national security and intelligence interests.
But in opposing federal prosecutors’ motion, lawyers for the former president argued Monday that he had “broad authority” to declassify documents and, as a former president, had an “absolute right to access presidential records under the Presidential Archives Act. The controversy surrounding the records, they told the court, is a “document storage dispute that has spiraled out of control”.
“[T]The government wrongly seeks to criminalize the 45th president’s possession of his own presidential and personal records,” Trump’s lawyers claimed.
In his decision last week, granting Trump’s request for a, Cannon ordered the Justice Department to temporarily cease “reviewing and using” the documents for investigative purposes pending the completion of the review by the special captain. She did, however, authorize the government to continue to review and use the seized records “for purposes of intelligence classification and national security assessments.”
Cannon had ordered Trump and the Justice Department to submit a list of candidates to serve as special master by Friday, along with a proposed description of the mechanisms for their review.
While the Department of JusticeJones and Griffith as candidates for special master, Trump’s attorneys also offered two candidates to review the seized documents: Raymond Dearie, former chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, and Paul Huck, former General Counsel. to Florida Governor Charlie Crist.