The US Supreme Court denies Trump’s request for seized documents

Oct 13 (Reuters) – The US Supreme Court on Thursday denied former President Donald Trump’s request for an independent arbitrator to examine classified documents seized by the FBI from his Florida home as part of his legal battle against Investigators investigating his dealings with sensitive government records.

Judges in a brief order denied Trump’s Oct. 4 emergency request to overturn a lower court’s decision barring the arbitrator from reviewing more than 100 documents marked as classified, which were among some 11,000 records found on his mar- a-Lago properties were seized in Palm Beach on 8th 8th

There were no publicly noted dissenting opinions from any of the nine judges on the decision, which came two days after the US Department of Justice asked them to deny Trump’s request and keep the classified documents out of the hands of the arbitrator, known as the Sondermeister .

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The court’s 6-3 conservative majority includes three judges appointed by Trump, who left office in January 2021.

Federal officials obtained a court-approved search warrant to search Trump’s home in a Justice Department criminal investigation after suspecting that not all classified documents in his possession had been returned after his presidency ended.

Investigators were looking for evidence of possible crimes related to the improper retention of national defense information and obstruction of a federal investigation. Trump has denied wrongdoing and called the investigation politically motivated.

Trump went to court on Aug. 22 to limit the Justice Department’s access to the documents while it continues its criminal investigation.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Youngstown, Ohio, U.S. September 17, 2022. REUTERS/Gaelen Morse/File Photo

US District Judge Aileen Cannon last month approved Trump’s request to temporarily bar the administration from using the seized materials in its investigations until the special judge determined whether they could be considered personal or of the confidentiality of the attorney-client or the Subject to executive privilege — a legal doctrine that shields some White House communications from disclosure — and is thus off-limits to investigators.

Cannon, who was appointed to the bench by Trump, appointed retired US judge Raymond Dearie as special master. Cannon later denied a Justice Department request to partially vacate her order, which applied only to documents marked confidential, secret or top secret, which the government said were hampering efforts to mitigate national security risks through their possible unauthorized disclosure.

Cannon said she could not accept that the documents were actually classified without Dearie’s review.

The Justice Department appealed to the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which subsequently stayed Cannon’s decisions regarding the classified documents, an action that prevented Dearie from reviewing them while the government resumes its investigation could. The 11th Circle noted the importance of restricting access to classified information and ensuring the department’s investigation is not harmed.

The 11th Circuit also dismissed any suggestion that Trump declassified the documents — as the former president claimed — saying there was “no evidence” of such action and that the argument was “a red herring because the declassification of an official document wouldn’t change its content or make it personal.”

The three statutes underpinning the search warrant used by the FBI in Mar-a-Lago make it a crime to tamper with government records, regardless of their classified status.

The department’s investigation is also trying to determine who accessed classified materials, whether they were compromised and whether they were unreported.

Trump’s attorneys previously told the Supreme Court that Dearie should be able to review the records and that the Justice Department “has attempted to criminalize a records management dispute and is now strongly opposed to a transparent process that provides much-needed oversight.” “.

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Reporting by Andrew Chung in New York; Editing by Will Dunham

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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