US Justice Department asks appeals court to review classified documents in Trump probe Reuters

© Reuters FILE PHOTO: An American flag flies outside the U.S. Department of Justice building in Washington, Dec. 15, 2020. REUTERS/Al Drago/File Photo

by Jacqueline Thomson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department on Friday asked a federal appeals court to continue reviewing classified material seized by the Florida State FBI during a search of former President Donald Trump.

In a lawsuit filed by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Justice Department said the lower court’s decision in part required prosecutors to review government records on the Trump case and not rely on classified documents in their criminal investigations. Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach after his presidency.

A third party appointed by the department to review all records seized by Trump in federal raids has asked U.S. Supreme Court Judge Raymond Derry not to review the classified materials.

The government has asked the appeals court to rule on the request “as soon as possible.”

Trump’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In an unprecedented search of the former president’s estate, the Justice Department said it was investigating the seizure of government records — some highly classified, including “top secret” — as well as obstruction of a federal investigation.

The Justice Department must now convince an Atlanta-based appeals court, with a conservative majority, to side with it in an argument over the record. Trump appointees comprise six of the 11 active judges on the 11th Circuit.

The government’s request comes after U.S. District Judge Eileen Cannon on Thursday rejected similar requests from the Justice Department.

Cannon, who Trump appointed to the bench in 2020, told Derry, who is filling a “special master’s” role in the case, that she would tell her to prioritize records in the review, which she set a Nov. 30 deadline. to complete.

In the year About 100 classified documents were among the 11,000 records collected in an Aug. 8 FBI court-authorized search of the former president’s Mar-a-Lago resort.

If Cannon’s ruling is upheld, it could end a Justice Department investigation involving government records, experts said.

The government’s Friday filing is sometimes directly linked to Canon’s rulings on the case. The prosecutor cited court filings from Trump’s attorneys that suggested the former president could have withheld classified documents, but those legal briefs stopped short of saying Trump did so.

“The court erred in granting extraordinary relief based on unsubstantiated probabilities,” state attorneys wrote.

The Justice Department also criticized Cannon’s directive to release classified records to Derry and Trump’s lawyers as part of an external review of all records seized in the search, saying the former president’s lawyers could become witnesses to “relevant events” in the criminal investigation. .

The department is looking into whether the investigation could be hampered after it discovered evidence that had been deleted or hidden from FBI records when it sent agents to Mar-a-Lago in June. .

Trump’s lawyers have objected to the government’s latest requests to Canon, telling a judge in Monday’s filing that they oppose the government’s request that all records be classified and that a special master is needed to help prosecutors oversee them.

Trump’s lawyers have sparked a debate over records inspections by seeking a third party to review materials seized by federal agents and determine whether they should be withheld from investigators. A former president’s legal team has argued that some materials may be covered by attorney-client privilege or executive privilege — a legal doctrine that could protect some presidential records from disclosure.

Cannon accepted that request in a ruling on Sept. 5, rejecting the Justice Department’s argument that the records are government and that Trump cannot claim executive privilege because he is not president.

Deary said earlier Friday that he will hold his first hearing on a privileged review of the seized documents in federal court in Brooklyn.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *