Appeals court rules DOJ can regain access to sensitive documents seized in Trump search

Washington — Federal Court of Appeals Wednesday Granted the Justice Department’s request to allow its investigators to regain access to about 100 classified-marked documents seized by the FBI during a search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida home.

A three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit agreed to set aside a lower court order barring the Justice Department from using a subset of sensitive records for investigative purposes, pending review of the material by an independent arbitrator known as a Special Master.

Last week, federal prosecutors asked the 11th Circuit to step in after U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, Trump’s 2020 appointee, denied their request to restore access to a batch of records marked classified , the records were one of 11,000 documents seized on 8 August.

In an appeal to the Atlanta-based court, attorneys for the Justice Department argued that Cannon’s order “obstructed” its criminal investigation by preventing “critical steps in an ongoing criminal investigation and forcing the disclosure of highly sensitive records” “, including Trump’s lawyers, causing irreparable harm to the government. They also warned that Cannon’s temporary ban on investigators from using the material for investigative purposes “impedes the government’s efforts to protect national security.”

Donald Trump headlines America's First Agenda summit in Washington, D.C.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump greets the crowd after speaking at the Agenda America First Summit at the Marriott Marquis Hotel on July 26, 2022 in Washington, DC.

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former president’s legal team Urge 11th Circuit Denied the Justice Department’s request to regain access to sensitive documents, reiterating its characterization of the court battle as “a document storage dispute that has gotten out of hand.” His lawyers, James Trusty and Christopher Kise, told the court that the federal investigation into Trump was “unprecedented and misguided.”

Lawyers for the former president also reiterated their argument that the Justice Department failed to prove that key documents in its request to the 11th Circuit were classified.

In filings with the 11th Circuit late Tuesday night, federal prosecutors dismissed Trump’s efforts to raise questions about the status of the material’s classification, writing that the former president “never really represented — let alone provided Evidence – he declassified any relevant records.” They also pointed to a Detailed property listing Retrieved from Mar-a-Lago in an Aug. 8 search, it showed federal agents took 33 items from Trump’s office storage and desks, including 103 items labeled “Confidential,” “Confidential,” Confidential” or “Top Secret” documents.

While Justice Department lawyers and Trump have sparred over access to about 100 documents marked as classified, a review process for materials retrieved from Mar-a-Lago by an outside arbiter has begun.

Cannon last week hired senior federal judge Raymond Dearie, who is semi-retired from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, as special judge, and the Justice Department did not try to stop him as it asked the 11th Circuit to suspend the freezing of documents.

Dearie, nominated by the former president as a candidate for the position, held his first meeting Discuss with federal prosecutors and Trump’s lawyers on Tuesday how he will review the seized material. During the 40-minute hearing in New York, Deerey appeared to be skeptical of Trump’s objection to his request for the former president to disclose information about whether the seized material had been declassified.

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