On Tuesday, former President Donald Trump asked the Supreme Court to intervene in his dispute with the Justice Department regarding classified records that the FBI took from his resort in Mar-a-Lago in August.
The 45th president’s lawyers asked the justices to stay an earlier ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which allowed the Justice Department to continue using classified documents in the criminal investigation into whether Trump violated federal law relating to the custody of government records. The filing was nearly 300 pages long.
Aileen Cannon, a US District Judge in Florida, had ordered the appointment of a special master, a neutral third party, to look over the thousands of documents to see if they were protected by attorney-client privilege, executive privilege, or other safeguards. The more than one hundred classified documents were removed from the special master’s review pile in an order issued by the appeals court.
The 45th president’s lawyers argued in their application to the high court that the special master needed access to the classified records in order to “determine whether documents bearing classification markings are in fact classified, and regardless of classification, whether those records are personal records or Presidential records.”
The application states that “the current status of any disputed document cannot possibly be determined solely by reference to the markings on that document” because “President Trump had absolute authority over classification decisions during his Presidency.”
In addition, the document states that “the unchallenged views of the current Justice Department would supersede the established authority of the Chief Executive” in the absence of the special master review.
After claiming that the hold hampered their ongoing investigation into Trump, the appeals court ruled last month that federal prosecutors could resume handling the documents.
The feds were successful in their argument that the government shouldn’t have to wait for the special master, Brooklyn federal court Judge Raymond Dearie, who has worked as a prosecutor for a long time, to finish his review of the case before the deadline that Cannon had set for later this fall.
Due to the bias of federal prosecutors, Trump’s legal team had argued that Dearie was required to separate files protected by executive privilege or attorney-client privilege.
The Department of Justice insisted that neither type of privilege applied to the evidence.
The filing from the Trump team will be sent to Justice Clarence Thomas, who is in charge of appeals from the 11th Circuit.Thomas has the option of acting independently or, as is customary, referring the emergency appeal to the rest of the court.
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