Trump Team Refuses Special Master Demand In Order To Guard Against ‘Subsequent Indictment’

OPINION: This article contains commentary which may reflect the author's opinion

The ongoing of the Biden FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s family home in Florida, Mar-a-Lago continues.

In early September, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon approved Trump’s request for a special master to oversee the review of all the evidence seized in the raid and also temporarily blocked parts of the DOJ investigation pending the appointment of the special master. She ultimately appointed  Judge Raymond Dearie as the special master to review the details and legality of the raid on Trump’s private Florida estate.

Judge Cannon had ruled against a DOJ request to delay the proceedings and continue to look at the documents separately from the special master.

During the raid, passports belonging to former President Trump were seized. Trump immediately objected publicly to the seizure of his personal property, and the passports were returned in a few days.

Although many items were taken in the raid some particular documents are special attention.

Seized in the raid were documents that reportedly are labeled “classified”.

The implication is that former President Trump has classified material at his home, and that he was in error to have the stated documents.

The former president has repeatedly stated publicly that he himself declassified the documents before leaving the Oval Office and that the stated documents, like other materials in the same room, were slated for his upcoming presidential museum.

Former President Trump has further stated that the Biden FBI has previously visited Mar-a-Lago and the room where the documents were stored to observe the placement of the boxes, and only offered a request that an extra lock be placed on the door to the room.

Trump complied with this offer and had the lock installed.

So there was no secret between Trump and the FBI about what was in the room and Trump was open and and compliant with the government representatives.

Thus far the status of the questioned documents has not been stated in filings to clear up the matter.

The Special Master draft plan sets out a number of requirements, including that Trump’s team provide details about Trump’s claim to have “declassified” documents that were seized during the FBI in the search of Mar-a-Lago.

Former President Donald Trump‘s legal team on Monday night resisted the request set forth by Special Master Judge Raymond Dearie in order to preserve a defense against a “subsequent indictment.”

The request was for the team to elaborate on their assertation that Trump has declassified the documents.

The Hill reports:

In a filing to the court-appointed special master that Tump requested, his attorneys said the “time and place” for making such a disclosure would come in a motion in a criminal trial as an effort to recover his property.

‘Otherwise, the Special Master process will have forced the Plaintiff to fully and specifically disclose a defense to the merits of any subsequent indictment without such a requirement being evident in the District Court’s order,” trump’s legal team wrote.

“The government’s stance assumes that if a document has a classification marking, it remains classified irrespective of any actions taken during President Trump’s term in office,” the team’s filing stated.

“There is no legitimate contention that the chief executive’s declassification of documents requires approval of bureaucratic components of the executive branch,” they added.

The former president’s team sees a legal problem with releasing such information too soon, and seeks to release it at the proper legal time.

According to a letter filed by Trump’s legal team, they won’t comply because they say it would weaken their case against a “subsequent indictment”:

[T]he Draft Plan requires that the Plaintiff disclose specific information regarding declassification to the Court and to the Government. We respectfully submit that the time and place for affidavits or declarations would be in connection with a Rule 41 motion that specifically alleges declassification as a component of its argument for return of property. Otherwise, the Special Master process will have forced the Plaintiff to fully and specifically disclose a defense to the merits of any subsequent indictment without such a requirement being evident in the District Court’s order.

In an effort to push forward the release of the information, the Justice Department next filed:

“Plaintiff principally seeks to raise questions about the classification status of the records and their categorization under the Presidential Records Act (‘PRA’). But plaintiff does not actually assert – much less provide any evidence – that any of the seized records bearing classification markings have been declassified,” the department wrote.

“Such possibilities should not be given weight absent the plaintiff’s putting forward competent evidence,” it added.

New York Times correspondent and Trumpworld pulse-reader Maggie Haberman suggested that Trump’s team was disappointed with the request.

“It’s very possible that Trump’s team – which liked that Dearie is slow-moving and believed he would think just like they do and base decisions on distrust of the FBI – was projecting,” Haberman speculated.

Trump himself is stating no problem with the protocols unfolding, but posted this week, “The 4th Ammendment, and much more, has been totally violated, a grave invasion of privacy.”

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