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Appeals Court Rules DOJ Can Regain Access to ‘Classified Documents’ Seized in Mar-A-Lago Raid


“A federal appeals court on Wednesday granted a request from the Justice Department to allow its investigators to regain access to the roughly 100 documents bearing classification markings that were seized by the FBI during its search at former President Donald Trump’s Florida residence,” CBS News reports.

“A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit agreed to put on hold a lower court’s order that kept the subset of sensitive records off-limits for the Justice Department to use for investigative purposes, pending the review of the materials by an independent arbiter known as a special master.”

CBS News reported:

In its 29-page opinion, the panel said it agreed with the Justice Department that the federal district court in South Florida likely erred in blocking investigators’ use of the classified records and then requiring them to submit the sensitive documents to the outside arbiter for review.

“For our part, we cannot discern why [Trump] would have an individual interest in or need for any of the one-hundred documents with classification markings,” Judges Robin Rosenbaum, Britt Grant and Andrew Brasher said. “Classified documents are marked to show they are classified, for instance, with their classification level.”

The former president, the judges continued, “has not even attempted to show that he has a need to know the information contained in the classified documents.” The judges also said there is no evidence in the record before them that the roughly 100 documents at issue were declassified.

President Trump’s legal team on Tuesday said the raid of Mar-a-Lago and the investigation into the mishandling of classified documents is “unprecedented” and “at its core is a document storage dispute that has spiraled out of control.”

Via Fox News:

The comment was part of the response that Trump’s lawyers filed to the Justice Department’s motion for a partial stay in the 11th Circuit. The Justice Department asked that the court allow it to continue using classified documents seized from Mar-a-Lago in its criminal investigation of the former president, and an appeals court gave Trump’s attorneys until Tuesday afternoon to respond.

“This investigation of the 45th President of the United States is both unprecedented and misguided,” Trump’s lawyers wrote in their filing. “In what at its core is a document storage dispute that has spiraled out of control, the Government wrongfully seeks to criminalize the possession by the 45th President of his own Presidential and personal records.”

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon approved the appointment of Judge Raymond Dearie — a candidate for the role proposed by Trump’s team and approved by the DOJ — to serve as special master to conduct an independent review of the records seized during the FBI’s raid last month.

Trump’s lawyers said that the appointment was made in “the public interest, the principles of civil and criminal procedure, and the principles of equity,” and said Dearie should be allowed to do his job.


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