March 30, 2023

Washington – A federal appeals court on Wednesday A request from the Justice Department to allow its investigators to restore access to nearly 100 classified documents seized by the FBI during a search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida residence has been granted.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit agreed to stay a lower court order that kept subsets of sensitive records off-limits for the Justice Department to use for investigative purposes, pending a review of the materials. by an independent arbitrator known as a special master.

Federal prosecutors asked the 11th Circuit to step in last week after U.S. District Judge Eileen Cannon, appointed by Trump in 2020, denied their request to restore access to a batch of classified records among 11,000 documents seized on Aug. 8. search

In their petition to the Atlanta-based court, Justice Department lawyers argued Cannon’s order “hamstrings” its criminal investigation and irreparably harms the government by blocking “critical steps in ongoing criminal investigations and mandatory disclosure of highly sensitive records,” including by Trump’s lawyers. . They warned of Canon’s temporary ban preventing investigators from using the materials for investigative purposes “impeding the government’s efforts to protect the security of the nation.”

Donald Trump headlines America's First Agenda Summit in Washington DC
Former US President Donald Trump acknowledges the crowd after speaking during the America First Agenda Summit at the Marriott Marquis Hotel on July 26, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The former president’s legal team 11th Circuit Appeals Rejecting the Justice Department’s request to restore access to sensitive documents, the court reiterated its characterization of the fight as a “document storage dispute that has spiraled out of control.” The federal investigation into Trump, his lawyers James Trusty and Christopher Keys told the court, was “unprecedented and misguided.”

The former president’s lawyers also reiterated their argument that the Justice Department did not prove that the original documents were classified as requested by the 11th Circuit.

In a late-night filing with the 11th Circuit on Tuesday, federal prosecutors pushed back on Trump’s attempts to raise questions about the classified status of the materials, writing that the former president “has never actually represented — much less offered evidence — that he has classified any of the relevant records.” They also indicated that a Detailed list of properties The Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago showed federal agents took 33 items from a storage room and desk in Trump’s office, including 103 documents marked “confidential,” “confidential” or “top secret.”

As Justice Department lawyers and Trump battle over access to nearly 100 documents with classified markings, the process of reviewing materials recovered from Mar-a-Lago by an outside arbitrator has begun.

Cannon last week tapped Raymond Derry, a veteran federal judge semi-retired from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, to serve as special master, and the Justice Department did not seek to block his appointment as part of its decision. The 11th Circuit issued a stay to freeze his request for documents.

Derry, who had been announced by the former president as a candidate for the role, Held his first meeting Tuesday with federal prosecutors and Trump’s attorneys about how his examination of the seized material will go. During the 40-minute hearing in New York, Deary appeared skeptical of Trump’s objections to his request that the former president release information about whether the seized materials had been released.

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