DOJ says Donald Trump must verify documents seized at Mar-a-Lago

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DOJ says Donald Trump must verify documents seized at Mar-a-Lago
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The Justice Department has urged a federal judge to force former President Donald Trump to confirm whether the FBI’s list of classified and other documents seized in the raid on his South Florida home is correct before an arbitrator no independent decides whether any of the documents should be extinguished. limits to federal prosecutors.

In a 20-page legal filing unsealed on Monday, the Justice Department asked U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon to compel Mr. Trump to file a sworn affidavit detailing the documents seized during the FBI raid in August at the Mar-a-Lago residence of the former president. .

Government lawyers said the affidavit was key to rebutting Mr Trump’s unsubstantiated claims that agents may have concealed some of the documents with ‘classified’ and ‘top secret’ as they searched his Palm residence. Beach, Florida.

In a bid to discredit the raid, Mr Trump had accused FBI agents of withholding documents and also claimed that some of the documents had already been declassified.

If Mr. Trump’s lawyers checked the inventory, it would likely contradict their client’s claims that materials were planted. It would also confirm that “classified” and “top secret” documents were stored at Mar-a-Lago. Both admissions would be a blow to Mr. Trump’s defense.

Attorneys for the Justice Department wrote in the filing that they had already submitted an affidavit validating the seized inventory, so it is only fair that Mr. Trump does the same.

“Now that the plaintiff has reviewed the documents seized and asserted that the overwhelming majority of them are his personal records, the consideration of fairness, integrity and impartiality compels the plaintiff to do this what the government has done – namely to check the inventory of assets or correct if it believes it to be an error,” they wrote. “A fair process requires both parties to ensure that the special master adjudicates on disputes over property actually seized at Mar-a-Lago.”

The attorneys said the affidavit would not hinder the government’s investigation into whether Mr. Trump violated the Espionage Act and possibly other federal laws regarding the handling of confidential government documents.

Special Master Raymond Dearie, a veteran judge who was appointed as an independent arbiter to review documents seized at Mar-a-Lago, in September asked Mr. Trump’s legal team to file an affidavit confirming the validity of the withdrawn documents of his residence.

But Judge Cannon stepped in and agreed with the former president’s lawyers, ruling Judge Dearie had exceeded his authority by asking Mr Trump to certify the government’s inventory list.

“The court appointing order did not contemplate [Trump’s] obligation,” Cannon Judge in an October decision, adding that “the parties and the special master are now able to continue the review process.”

Judge Dearie was appointed by Judge Cannon at the request of Mr. Trump. He asked both parties to publish a detailed inventory list and to certify that it was accurate.

The Department of Justice complied and filed an updated list showing that more than 100 documents marked “confidential”, “secret” or “top secret” were seized at Mar-a-Lago.

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