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Government Wins Appeal on Mar-a-Lago Classified Documents


WASHINGTON — Late Wednesday, an appeals court granted the Justice Department’s request to retain control of classified material seized at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and Continuing a criminal investigation into the handling of these documents is a big win for the government.

In a 29-page ruling, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta struck down an earlier order by a federal judge that barred federal agents from using the roughly 100 classified documents seized as part of an investigation into whether there were any national security risks. a part of. Highly sensitive government material is being stored at Mr Trump’s Florida home.

Mr Trump’s legal team has said an independent lawyer known as a special guru should be able to review the documents, arguing that the administration has overstated its concerns.

“For our part, we cannot discern why plaintiffs would have a personal interest or need in any one of the hundred documents marked with classification,” the three-judge panel of the appeals court ruled unanimously.

The panel includes two judges appointed by Mr. Trump, Circuit Judge Andrew Brasher and Circuit Judge Britt Grant. The other judge on the panel, Circuit Judge Robin Rosenbaum, was an appointee by President Barack Obama.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Erin Cannon ordered the appointment of a special supervisor to review all 11,000 documents seized by FBI agents at Mar-a-Lago and to mediate any disputes over the status of the documents. She also ordered the administration to give Trump’s legal team access to classified documents at the heart of the Justice Department’s investigation and to share them with an independent arbitrator.

Late Friday, prosecutors asked the appeals court to block portions of Judge Cannon’s order related to about 100 classified documents, saying her order “obstructs the administration’s efforts to protect national security.”

The appeals court said it was convinced by the government’s arguments. “The United States also argues that allowing the special director and plaintiffs’ attorneys to inspect classified records, respectively, would cause irreparable harm. We agree,” the panel wrote in Wednesday’s decision.

write to Aruna Viswanatha (Aruna.Viswanatha@wsj.com), Sadie Gurman (sadie.gurman@wsj.com) and Jan Wolfe (jan.wolfe@wsj.com)

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