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Trump urges appeals court to keep Justice Department protective records

Washington— Former President Donald Trump’s legal team on Tuesday urged a federal appeals court to deny a request from the Ministry of Justice to allow investigators to regain access to a slice of about 100 documents with classification marks seized from his Florida estate, saying the government has ‘criminalized a documentary dispute’ and opposes a ‘transparent process that simply provides much-needed monitoring”.

“This investigation into the 45th President of the United States is both unprecedented and flawed,” wrote James Trusty and Christopher Kise, Trump’s attorneys, in their response. “In what is at its core a dispute over document storage that has spiraled out of control, the government is wrongfully seeking to criminalize the 45th President’s possession of his own presidential and personal records.”

In their 40-page filing, Trump’s lawyers told the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit that the FBI’s seizure of documents from Trump’s home in South Florida, Mar-a -Lago, presents “extraordinary circumstances that warrant neutral third-party review,” and said the Justice Department has failed to prove that the documents at the heart of its appeals court request are classified.

“Ultimately, any brief delay in the criminal investigation will not cause irreparable harm to the government,” Trusty and Kise wrote. “The injunction does not prevent the government from conducting a criminal investigation, it merely delays the investigation for a short period while a neutral third party reviews the documents in question.”

A detailed list of properties of the FBI released this month shows that federal agents seized 33 items, boxes or containers from a storage room and from offices in Trump’s office that contained 103 documents marked “confidential”, “secret” or ” top secret” during the FBI’s visit in August. 8 search at South Florida property.

Last Friday, the Justice Department turned to the 11th Circuit after U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon denied his request to restore access to the portion of documents marked classified which formed part of the material seized. Cannon barred the Justice Department from using the documents in its ongoing criminal investigation into Trump’s handling of sensitive government records, pending a review by a third-party arbitrator known as the special master.

In their filing with the 11th Circuit asking the court to stay Cannon’s order keeping the subset of sensitive records out of investigators’ reach, federal prosecutors argued that the ruling “cripples” his criminal investigation and “harms irretrievably to the government by imposing critical steps in an ongoing criminal investigation and unnecessarily burdensome disclosure of highly sensitive records,” including on Trump’s lawyers.

By blocking the review and use of the records for investigative purposes, the decision “impedes the government’s efforts to protect the security of the nation,” Justice Department lawyers wrote in their 29-page filing. .

In addition to keeping in place its order preventing federal investigators from using sensitive documents, Cannon, appointed to the federal bench by Trump, also appointed Judge Raymond Dearie serve as a special master. Dearie is tasked with examining the approximately 11,000 documents recovered by the FBI from a storage room and Trump’s office in Mar-a-Lago for personal items and records, as well as material that could be subject to attorney-client or executive privileges.

Dearie, a longtime federal district court judge in Brooklyn, is set to meet with Justice Department attorneys and Trump’s legal team on Tuesday afternoon, and asked the parties to submit advance proposed agenda items.

In a Monday letter, federal prosecutors suggested the conference focus on the “precise mechanics” of how the documents should be reviewed, aspects of the order appointing Dearie as a special master, and future reviews of the progress.

In a separate letter to Dearie, Trump’s attorneys extended Dearie’s proposed Oct. 7 deadline for both parties to finish sifting through and tagging documents seized at Mar-a-Lago. They too objected to a request de Dearie that Trump release information regarding any potential declassification of sensitive documents taken from his South Florida residence, arguing that this would require Trump to “fully and specifically disclose a defense on the merits of any subsequent indictment without such a requirement is evident in the district court order.”


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