U.S. Justice Department appeals order barring review of Mar-a-Lago documents

The US Justice Department asked a federal appeals court on Friday to lift a judge’s order temporarily barring them from reviewing a series of classified documents seized during the FBI’s search of Florida’s home. Former US President Donald Trump last month.

The department told the 11th U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta that keeping the judge was hindering “the government’s efforts to protect national security” and interfering with its investigation into the presence of information. top secret information at Mar-a-Lago. It said immediate removal was required so work could resume.

“The government and the public will be irreparably harmed by the absence of stay,” the department’s attorneys wrote in their brief before the appeals court.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon appointed a so-called special master to review the documents, and the resulting legal trouble it has caused is likely to delay the investigation by several weeks. Department investigation into keeping classified documents at the Florida property after Trump left office. It remains unclear whether Trump, who has laid the groundwork for a potential presidential run, or anyone else can be impeached.

11,000 documents

The FBI said it lost about 11,000 documents, including about 100 classified documents found in archives and offices, while serving a court-approved search warrant at home on Dec. August 8. Weeks after the search, Trump’s lawyers asked for a judge. designate a special population to conduct independent review of records.

Last week, Cannon directed the department to stop using the records until a later court order, or until the completion of a report by an independent arbitrator, who will personally examine the documents and remove any attorney-client request. privilege or executive privilege.

VIEW | The judge agrees with the request of the special masters of Trump:

Judge allows Trump to ask experts to review seized documents

A federal judge has asked former US president Donald Trump to request a special expert to review documents seized by the FBI from Mar-a-Lago, his Florida home.

On Thursday night, she assigned Raymond Dearie, a former chief justice of a federal court based in New York City, as arbitrator – also known as a special master. She also refused to lift an order preventing the department from using it to investigate 100 seized documents that were marked as classified, citing ongoing disputes over the nature of the documents, which she believes. had a neutral rating.

“The Court does not find it appropriate to accept the Government’s conclusions on these important and disputed matters without further review by a neutral third party in a expeditious and orderly manner,” he said. she wrote.

The Justice Department on Friday night told the appeals court that Cannon’s order “excessively interferes with the criminal investigation,” barring investigators from “accessing seized records to assess whether the allegations whether it is appropriate or not.”

Cannon has said that investigators are free to carry out other investigative work unrelated to reviewing the documents, but the department said Friday that is largely impractical. Noting the discovery of dozens of empty folders at Mar-a-Lago that were marked as classified, it said the judge appeared to forbid “further examining the records to distinguish any of the samples from type of record is kept, which may result in identification among other records being still missing.”

The department also asked the appeals court to deny Cannon’s order that it provide the newly appointed special employer with confidential documents, showing no reason for the arbitrator to review highly sensitive records without raises the question of legal privilege.

‘Not required’ return the document

“Plaintiffs made no claim to return those records, which belonged to the government and were seized during a court-mandated search,” the department’s attorneys wrote. “The filings do not comply with any possible claim of attorney-client privilege. And neither Plaintiffs nor the court invoked any authority indicating that a former President could successfully invoke executive privilege to prevent the Executive Branch from reviewing its own records.”

Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence is seen in Palm Beach, Fla., on Aug. 31. (Steve Helber / The Associated Press)

Cannon directed Dearie to complete his work by November 30 and prioritize the review of classified documents. She directed the Justice Department to allow Trump’s legal team to examine classified records with “controlled conditions of access” – something government lawyers argued Friday was not. necessary and harmful.

On Friday, Dearie, a former federal prosecutor, scheduled a preliminary meeting with Trump’s attorneys and Justice Department attorneys for Tuesday afternoon.

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