Appeals court says Justice Department can use classified documents in criminal probe of Trump
A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a Florida federal judge’s order that effectively barred the Justice Department from using classified documents found at the Palm Beach home of former President Donald Trump to further criminal investigations of him and his associates .
In an opinion released late Wednesday, Circuit Judges Robin Rosenbaum, Britt Grant and Andrew Brasher said they agreed with the administration’s argument that Magistrate Judge Erin Cannon” may be exercising … jurisdiction to bar the U.S. from using its classified records for criminal investigations and to require the U.S. to submit flagged classified documents to specialized supervisors for review.”
“In our case, we cannot discern why plaintiffs would be interested in or need any of the one hundred documents marked with classification,” they said.
The judges added that Trump “didn’t even try to show that he needed to know the information contained in the classified documents.”
“Nor has he established that the current administration has dropped its claim to the documents. Even if he had, that in itself would not explain why the plaintiffs have a personal interest in the classified documents”.
Mr. Trump has repeatedly claimed that he declassified some or all of the documents he hoarded at his Florida home during his presidency. But his lawyers did not respond to the claims, only claiming that the documents were marked with classification.
The panel noted that Mr. Trump’s lawyers “have provided no evidence that any of these records have been declassified,” despite the former president suggesting that he may have done so and refusing to raise that at a hearing with the special director overseeing the review. argument. New York federal Judge Raymond Dearie provided the documents at a hearing in Brooklyn on Tuesday.
“In any event, at least for these purposes, the decryption argument is a distraction, as decrypting an official document does not alter its content or make it personal. So even if we assume that the plaintiff did decrypt some or all of the document, it cannot be explained Why does he have a personal interest in these documents,” they said.
The rulings of three 11th Circuit judges — two of whom Trump has appointed to the bench — mean the Justice Department will be able to use 100 classified documents seized by the FBI during an Aug. 8 search of his home to further The investigation “opens a criminal investigation into whether the twice-impeached former president violated laws prohibiting the misuse of defense information and obstruction of justice.