Justice Dept. appeals judge’s rulings on classified material in Mar-a-Lago case


The Justice Department on Friday night asked a federal appeals court to override parts of a judge’s order appointing a special captain to review documents seized from former President Donald Trump’s home and club. in Mar-a-Lago, arguing that some conditions impede a critical national security investigation.

The appeals court filing comes a day after U.S. District Court Judge Aileen M. Cannon appointed another federal judge, Raymond J. Dearie, to serve as special master and review the nearly 11,000 documents seized. during the FBI search on Aug. 8.

The Justice Department’s new filing notes it disagrees with that decision, but for the time being asks the appeals court to intervene on two parts of Cannon’s ruling: one of which prohibits criminal investigators from entering it. confiscated material while the special master does his job, and another that allowed the special captain to confiscate the approximately 100 classified documents, as well as the unclassified material.

The government’s filing calls for a postponement of “only those parts of the injunction that cause the most serious and immediate harm to the government and the public,” calling the scope of their request “modest but critical.”

It’s unclear how long the special main review, or appeals processes, could take, but the new filing asks the appeals court to rule on their request for residency “as soon as practicable.”

Cannon ordered Dearie to complete his assessment by November 30. She said he should prioritize sorting the classified documents, though she didn’t provide a timeline on when that part should be completed.

The Justice Department had requested in an earlier lawsuit that the assessment be completed by October 17. And Trump’s lawyers had said it would take a special master 90 days to complete an assessment.

Dearie, 78, was nominated by President Ronald Reagan (R) after serving as a lawyer in the US. Fellow attorneys and colleagues in the Brooklyn Federal Court describe him as an exemplary lawyer well-suited to the job of special master, having previously served on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees sensitive national security cases.

The appeals court filing also argues that the premise of Cannon’s injunction regarding the classified material makes little sense because classified documents are by definition owned by the government, not a former president or a private club.

Trump “has no claim to the return of those records, which are government property and seized during a court-authorized search. The files are not subject to any possible claim of personal attorney-client privilege,” prosecutors wrote, adding that Trump has not cited any legal authority “that suggests that a former president can successfully invoke the privilege of the attorney-client.” executive branch to prevent the executive branch from checking its own files. ”

The Justice Department argues that Cannon’s instruction to intelligence officials to continue their risk assessment of the Mar-a-Lago case while detectives were unable to use the same material in their work is highly impractical because the two tasks are “inextricably linked.” be connected”.

That 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 have split their previously integrated criminal investigation and national security activities.” the submission states. “It also irreparably harms the government by imposing critical steps of an ongoing criminal investigation and unnecessarily coercive disclosure of highly sensitive data, including to Trump’s lawyers.

Prosecutors have also said the judge’s restriction on further investigation prevents them from determining whether other classified documents need to be found — a potential ongoing national security risk — and the appeal’s filing says it will also make it more difficult for the FBI to determine whether someone has access to the documents they have found.

“The court order restricts the FBI … from using the seized documents in its criminal investigation tools to assess what data was actually released, to whom and in what circumstances,” the new filing said.

Similar arguments did not help Cannon, who has repeatedly been skeptical of the Justice Department’s claims, not even whether the 100 or so documents at the heart of the case had been classified. In her ruling on Thursday, she rejected the argument that her decision seriously harms the national security investigation. Uniform application of legal rules “does not require unconditional confidence in the judgments of the Justice Department,” the judge wrote.

Cannon, a Trump appointee who was confirmed by the US Senate just days after Trump lost his reelection bid, added that she still “firmly believes” that the appointment of a special captain and a temporary injunction against the Department of Justice that uses the documents, adhering to “the need to ensure at least the appearance of honesty and integrity under unprecedented circumstances.”

The Justice Department is investigating Trump and his advisers for possible misuse of classified information, as well as for concealing or destroying government documents — a saga that began last year when the National Archives and Records Administration worried that some items and documents containing presidential records were, and thus government-owned, were instead owned by Trump at his Florida club.

After months of discussions, Trump officials handed about 15 boxes of material to the archives, and a review of those boxes revealed what officials said were 184 documents with classification markings, including some that were top secret.

After the FBI and the Justice Department opened a criminal investigation, a subpoena was sent in May requesting that all documents marked as classified be returned. In response, a Trump attorney handed over 38 additional classified documents, and another Trump associate signed a document claiming they had carefully searched for remaining sensitive documents, prosecutors said.

“The FBI has found evidence that the response to the grand jury subpoena was incomplete, that classified documents likely remained in Mar-a-Lago, and that attempts were likely made to obstruct the investigation,” the filing said. a description of the decision to get a court order to search Mar-a-Lago.

That search, officials said, turned up about 100 more classified documents, including some that were at the highest classification level.

Two weeks after that search, Trump’s attorneys filed court documents requesting that a special master be appointed to review the seized materials and withhold any documents that fall under attorney-client privilege or executive privilege.

Executive privilege is a loosely defined legal concept intended to protect the privacy of presidential communications from other branches of government, but in this case Trump’s legal team has suggested that the former president can invoke it against the current executive.

The administration’s objection argument also seeks to disprove the suggestion that Trump may have released the material while he was president, noting that his legal team has never claimed to have done so at any point in the long months of negotiations over the return of the government. documents, and since the raid has only suggested that he might have or could have released them.

In following that line of reasoning, Judge Cannon “made a mistake in granting extraordinary relief based on unsubstantiated possibilities,” the attorneys for the Justice Department wrote.

Judge Appoints Fellow Judge Dearie Special Master in Trump Mar-a-Lago Case

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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