The Department Of Justice Can Continue With The Investigation Of Mar-a-lago

The Department Of Justice Can Continue With The Investigation Of Mar-a-Lago

An aerial view of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort

(WABNEWS) — A federal appeals court has allowed the Justice Department to continue reviewing documents marked classified that were seized from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and resort.

The emergency intervention overturns a trial judge’s order on the documents that blocked the work of federal investigators, and is a sharp rebuke to the Trump team’s attempt to suggest without evidence that the materials were somehow declassified.


An independent expert’s review of that subset of roughly 100 records, which would have allowed Trump’s legal team to see them, has now been partially halted. The independent expert, Judge Raymond Dearie, can continue his work by reviewing the rest of the material seized from Mar-a-Lago, to ensure that records belonging to Trump or that he may claim as confidential are not used by investigators. .

“It is clear that the public has a vested interest in ensuring that the storage of classified records does not result in ‘exceptionally serious harm to national security,'” the three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit said. “Making sure of that necessarily involves reviewing the documents, determining who had access to them and when, and deciding which sources or methods (if any) are compromised.”

Court rebukes Trump for claims about declassified documents

Throughout the litigation, Trump’s attorneys have raised vague questions about whether the materials are in fact classified. But they have not claimed directly in court that the former president declassified them, even as Trump himself has claimed outside court that he did.

On Wednesday night, the appeals court panel called in Trump’s legal team.

“Plaintiff suggests that he may have declassified these documents when he was president,” the court wrote. “But the file contains no evidence that any of these records have been declassified. And before the independent expert, the plaintiff refused to provide evidence that he had declassified any of these documents.”

Trump’s lawyers have also sought to hold off disclosing the specifics of whether the documents had been declassified while the materials are initially reviewed by the independent expert.

“The classification marks on the records establish that they are government records and that responsible officials have previously determined that their unauthorized disclosure would cause harm, including ‘exceptionally serious harm,’ to national security,” prosecutors told the 11th Circuit in a statement. Tuesday night show.

The Justice Department had requested the intervention of the 11th Circuit in the dispute over the Mar-a-Lago documents after Trump successfully sued for the appointment of an independent expert to analyze the approximately 11,000 documents that the FBI obtained in his raid on Trump’s home.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, the Florida judge who granted Trump’s search request, previously denied a Justice Department request that she stop the parts of her order that applied to the 100 documents identified as classified.

None of the three criminal statutes the FBI cited when obtaining the Mar-a-Lago search warrant depend on the materials being classified, the Justice Department argued.

In seeking to restart its criminal investigation into the documents, the Justice Department argued that Cannon’s order was preventing investigators from taking steps to assess and mitigate the national security risks posed by how the documents were handled.

Cannon said a national security assessment of the materials being conducted by the intelligence community could be conducted. However, the Department of Justice argued that this evaluation could not be separated from the criminal investigation.

Records do not belong to Trump

The 11th Circuit flatly rejected Trump’s arguments that he might have an interest in the classified records that could hide them from federal criminal investigators.

Trump “has no possessory interest in the documents at issue, so he suffers no recognizable harm if the United States reviews documents that do not belong to him or in which he has a personal interest. Second, we find plaintiff’s insistence unconvincing that he would be harmed by a criminal investigation,” they wrote.

“Due to the nature of the classified materials at issue here and based on the record, we have no reason to expect that the United States’ use of these records would impose the risk of disclosure to the United States of plaintiff’s inside information,” they wrote.



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