Justice Department urges Supreme Court to dismiss Trump’s Mar-a-Lago appeal

The Justice Department on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to dismiss a petition by Donald Trump’s attorneys in the Mar-a-Lago search case, arguing that allowing an outside arbitrator to review classified documents seized from Trump’s home would violate the government would “damage irreparably” and that Trump, as a former president, has no “plausible” claims of ownership of sensitive government material.

This is the latest twist in the department’s high-profile probe to determine whether the former president or his advisers mishandled national security secrets or hid or destroyed government records. Prosecutors have accused Trump’s team of failing to turn over highly sensitive government documents when requested and took the extraordinary step over the summer of executing a search warrant at his South Florida home and private club.

Trump has said he is being treated unfairly by the Justice Department. Last week, his legal team filed a technical and narrow petition to the Supreme Court, asking judges to reconsider part of an appeals court order granting the Justice Department’s request to keep the classified documents separate from a review of the seized material by an outside expert , known as a special master.

FBI agents seized more than 11,000 documents from Trump’s Florida residence and private club, including 103 with a variety of non-disclosure markings. The Washington Post has reported that authorities have found a document detailing a foreign government’s military defenses, including its nuclear capabilities.

The former President’s attorneys have argued that the Court of Appeals had no authority to bar the special master from seeing the classified material. They asked the Supreme Court to allow the outside expert to examine these sensitive government documents.

The status of important investigations related to Donald Trump

The government’s response said Trump’s emergency motion should fail because he failed to show how he would be harmed without the Supreme Court’s intervention or that the appeals court’s order was wrong.

“Because the applicant has no plausible title or privilege in relation to the documents bearing classification designations … he will suffer no harm at all if the special master’s review of these materials is suspended during the government appeals process,” said Attorney General Elizabeth B. Prelogar wrote in Tuesday’s response to the Supreme Court. “And the complainant has further undermined any allegation that he is suffering irreparable harm from the suspension by opposing the Government’s request to expedite the underlying appeal and urging that this hearing be held by ‘January 2023 or later’ will be postponed.”

In its September decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit also said the Justice Department could immediately resume using the classified documents in its criminal investigations — something a lower court had prohibited until the special master had completed his review . While Trump’s attorneys requested that the Supreme Court allow the classified documents to be reviewed, they did not ask the judges to bar the government from using those materials in its criminal investigations.

The Justice Department on Tuesday defended itself against Trump attorneys’ arguments that the Court of Appeals had no jurisdiction to say what the special master could review, saying the judges panel has authority to review the entire ruling appointing a special master not just parts of it.

Trump and the Mar-a-Lago Documents: A Timeline

Noting that “the government believes the district court made a fundamental error in appointing a special master and granting injunctive relief in the first place,” Prelogar is appealing the Sept. 5 order. The Justice Department is expected to appeal Friday.

When Trump first called for the appointment of a special master in late August, his attorneys argued that since leaving office he had retained some executive privileges that the Justice Department said a former president could no longer claim. In Tuesday’s filing, the attorney general noted that Trump’s attorneys “abandoned” that argument in recent filings, suggesting the former president’s attorneys recognize that he cannot invoke that privilege.

“In any event, such an appeal would inevitably give in to the ‘proven, specific evidence’ required by the government in its criminal investigation into the wrongful storage of those very documents and the obstruction of its efforts to recover them,” the filing reads.

Elsewhere in its 32-page filing, the Justice Department traces the history of the criminal investigation into possible misuse of government documents in Mar-a-Lago and accuses Trump’s team of likely obstructing investigations after a grand jury issued a subpoena in May demanding They refer to “any document or writing in the custody or control of Donald J. Trump.”

“The FBI has uncovered evidence that the response to the grand jury’s subpoena was incomplete, that other classified documents likely remained at Mar-a-Lago, and that efforts were likely made to obstruct the investigation,” it said the file.

In response, investigators went to a judge to approve a search warrant that FBI agents issued on Aug.

Trump elected a third of the Supreme Court’s nine justices, a body that has moved to the right on issues dear to conservatives, such as abortion, gun rights and religion. But the court was a disappointment to the former president on issues affecting him personally.

The Supreme Court flatly rejected Trump’s bold claims of immunity from investigators from local law enforcement and Congress in July 2020. It brushed aside several challenges to the 2020 election results tabled by Trump and his allies. And after the presidency, the court denied his request to have certain White House documents from the congressional committee investigating the Jan. Riots erupted in the US Capitol on February 6, 2021, with only Justice Clarence Thomas saying he would support Trump’s plea .

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