Justice Department asks appeals court to revive its criminal probe into classified Mar-a-Lago docs



The Justice Department on Friday asked an appeals court to suspend parts of a judge’s order, requiring a third party to review materials seized in Mar-a-Lago last month.

In its petition to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Justice Department said the lower court’s decision to block criminal investigations from reviewing the seized documents marked as classified would cause irreparable harm, with it wrote that the “criminal investigation itself is essential to the government’s efforts. to identify and mitigate potential national security risks.”

The department sought intervention after District Judge Aileen Cannon on Thursday rejected prosecutors’ request to resume their criminal investigation into the classified documents.

“The court order impedes that investigation and places the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) under a threat of contempt from Damoclean, should the court later disagree with the way investigators conduct their previously integrated criminal investigation and national investigations. security activities,” the Justice Department wrote. .

The Justice Department is also asking the appeals court to exclude the documents marked as classified from the so-called special master review that Cannon ordered. The prosecutors noted that Cannon’s injunction would require those documents to be provided to Trump’s attorneys, saying there was “no basis for disclosing such sensitive information,” and that the injunction required them to “reveal highly sensitive material.” disclose it to a special master and to the plaintiff”. counsel – possibly including witnesses to relevant events – in the midst of an investigation, where no charges have been filed.”

The Justice Department on Friday asked the 11th Circuit to take action “as soon as possible”.

The new filing to the 11th Circuit speeds the dispute over the Mar-a-Lago search all the way to the appeals court and raises the possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court will be asked to weigh in in the coming weeks as well.

The Justice Department originally sought a warrant to search Mar-a-Lago after months of negotiations with Trump’s team over documents brought from his White House to the Florida resort after he left office. The FBI is investigating at least three possible crimes: Espionage Act violations, illegal handling of government records and obstruction of justice.

In her Thursday night injunction denying the Department of Justice’s request to resume the criminal investigation, Cannon questioned whether the 100 or more documents in question had actually been classified, concluding that the matter was in dispute and best judged. by an independent party.

She also rejected the Justice Department’s arguments that its hold on the criminal investigation endangered national security. That approach is at odds with the courts of deference that the government usually shows on classification and national security.

In their request to the 11th Circuit, the prosecutors said the lower court had not considered the evidence they presented about the risks of the way the government documents were stored.

The record, they said Friday, “makes it clear that the materials have been stored in an unsafe manner for an extended period of time, and the court order itself prevents the government from even beginning to take the necessary steps to determine whether inappropriate disclosures have taken place or may continue to be prevented.”

The bans on the criminal investigation, prosecutors said, undermined the intelligence community’s ability to “evaluate the harm that would result from the disclosure of the seized documents.”

“The court order restricts the FBI — which has the lead responsibility for investigating such cases in the United States — from using the seized documents in its criminal investigation tools to assess which documents have actually been released, to whom, and in what circumstances,” the Justice Department told the appeals court.

Cannon also concluded that the classification designations were questionable without the Trump team putting forward the kind of evidence — such as statements — that would suggest the materials were not, in fact, classified. Trump has claimed in media appearances that he released the documents he brought to Mar-a-Lago, but his lawyers have yet to make that claim in court files.

Cannon has repeatedly acknowledged in court decisions that her rationale is based in part on Trump’s status as a former president, writing Thursday that the “principles of equity” required her to “consider the specific context, and that consideration is inherently influenced by the position previously held by the claimant.”

In their appeal to the 11th Circuit, the Justice Department wrote that none of the 100 documents marked as classified could potentially be Trump’s personal information — a sort of claim he’s trying to make to keep some documents out of evidence.

“None of these reasons apply to the records that bear classification marks: the marks on the front of the documents indicate that they are not [Trump]personal property,” the department writes.

The case is now before a court where six of the 11 active judges have been appointed by Trump. It goes to a panel of three randomly selected judges from the court. A panel that includes some of the appeals judges elected by the former president may still sympathize with the Justice Department, given the respect the government usually shows when it says national security is at risk.

There is also skepticism among outside legal observers about Cannon’s decision to intervene at all, as a separate Florida magistrate has approved the search warrant and the investigation itself is being conducted by a grand jury in DC.

Cannon — a 2020 appointee of then-President Trump — was arbitrarily assigned the lawsuit that Trump filed two weeks after the FBI executed the search warrant.

The Justice Department argued that Trump’s efforts to enforce privileges are weak — if he made them at all.

“Neither [Trump] nor has the court suggested that they may be subject to the attorney’s nondisclosure. [Trump] never even attempted to make or substantiate any claim of executive privilege. Even if he did, such a claim could not justify limiting the executive’s review and use of these documents for multiple independent reasons.”

The Justice Department also disagrees with both Trump going to court to try to prevent investigators from accessing classified documents seized by Mar-a-Lago, and Cannon from intervening.

Trump “at least has no prestige regarding the discrete array of records with classification marks, because those records are government property, over which the executive branch has exclusive control, and in which Plaintiff has no proprietary interest,” the DOJ writes.

The state attorneys say the courts can only be involved in exceptional circumstances, such as when constitutional rights are violated in a search or when an investigator has a special need to preserve seized material, and that “cannot extend to these records” .

“The court reasoned that other materials in which Plaintiff [Trump] could have a demonstrable interest cannot be easily separated from those in which he does not. But that reasoning doesn’t apply to records with classification marks, which are easily identifiable and already separated from the other seized materials,” the department writes.

This story has been updated with additional details.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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