Former US President Donald Trump is suing the Justice Department over the Mar-a-Lago search and has requested that the Justice Department’s probe into materials seized from his Mar-a-Lago estate be halted.
In a lawsuit, his legal team requested that an independent counsel be assigned to oversee the records taken earlier this month by FBI officials.
According to the FBI, eleven sets of secret data were removed from Mr. Trump’s Florida resort on August 8.
Mr. Trump is being scrutinized for possible document mishandling.
All US presidents must surrender all their documents and communications to the National Archive. The FBI is examining whether Mr. Trump inappropriately handled records by transporting them from the White House to Mar-a-Lago after leaving office in January 2021.
He has denied any misconduct and stated that the documents had been declassified.
Mr. Trump’s legal team accuses the Justice Department of “just wanting the camel’s nose under the tent so they could rummage for either politically beneficial papers or back efforts to prevent President Trump from running again” in a 27-page brief filed in a Florida court.
“Ex-President Donald J Trump is the clear frontrunner in the 2024 Republican Presidential Primary and the 2024 General Election,” it continues.
“Law enforcement is meant to be a shield that protects Americans,” the article says. “It should not be utilized as a political weapon.”
According to Mr. Trump’s lawyers, the “shockingly aggressive move” on Mar-a-Lago by approximately two dozen FBI agents occurred “with no comprehension of the discomfort that it would cause most Americans.”
In a brief statement, the Department of Justice (DoJ) stated that prosecutors were aware of Mr. Trump’s case and will respond in court. According to spokesman Anthony Coley, the “search warrant at Mar-a-Lago was authorized by a federal court upon the required finding of reasonable cause.”
On Monday, the New York Times claimed that agents had retrieved over 300 documents with classified markings from Mr. Trump, including material from the CIA, National Security Agency, and FBI.
Mr. Trump’s legal action was filed on Monday in West Palm Beach, Florida, before a judge whom he appointed to the bench in 2020.
Mr. Trump is suing for a more specific description of what was seized from his estate and for the government to return any items that were not included in the search order.
His lawyers have also requested the appointment of a “neutral” third-party attorney, known as a special master, to decide whether the confiscated files are protected by presidential privilege, which permits presidents to keep certain communications private.
Special masters are typically appointed in criminal cases if there are fears that some evidence may be protected by legal safeguards like attorney-client privilege, rendering it inadmissible in court.
According to the court document, Mr. Trump had been cooperating with agents until the FBI showed up unannounced at his house.
According to his attorneys, the warrant was comprehensive, and the search violated the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which protects Americans from unreasonable search and seizure.
His legal team also accuses the government of providing “evolving and misleading ‘justifications'” for the search for favored media sources.
According to Mr. Trump’s legal team, three days after the search, they phoned an FBI agent who had visited Mar-a-Lago in June and asked for his assistance in passing along a personal message from the former president to Attorney General Merrick Garland.
According to the brief message recorded in Monday’s lawsuit, Mr. Trump has heard “from folks throughout the country regarding the raid.”
“If there were one word to describe their emotions, it would be ‘mad,'” Mr. Trump wrote in his statement.
“The temperature is rising. The pressure is increasing. Please let us know if there is anything I can do to reduce the heat and pressure.”
The judge who issued the warrant – an extraordinary criminal inquiry into the residence of a former US president – is still deciding whether to release the affidavit, the sworn evidence provided as basis for the FBI search.
On Monday, Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart stated that suggested government redactions to the statement were so extensive that it would be “meaningless” if published. However, he still considered it should not be totally sealed due to public interest in the case.
Mr. Trump had previously claimed that he did nothing wrong, claiming that all of the records he took from the White House had already been declassified by himself, when he departed in January 2021.
Trump releases investigation timeline.
- January 2022 – The National Archives obtains 15 boxes of White House papers from Mar-a-Lago and reports that some documents acquired after Trump’s presidency had been torn up.
- February – Reports surface that secret files were discovered in the Mar-a-Lago cache, and the National Archives has requested that the Department of Justice investigate.
- April – According to US media, the FBI has launched a preliminary investigation.
- June 3 – A top Justice Department official and three FBI agents travel to Mar-a-Lago to inspect objects in a basement. Mr. Trump allegedly told them, “Whatever you need, just let us know.”
- June 8 – Federal investigators write to a Trump adviser, requesting that a more robust lock be used to safeguard the room where the objects are stored. Trump claims that his request was swiftly met.
- The Trump Organization received a Department of Justice summons for CCTV footage from Mar-a-Lago on June 22.
- According to the warrant, dozens of agents examined Mar-a-Lago and seized more than 20 boxes, some of which included top secret papers.
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