Trials & Litigation

After Trump makes claims about planted and declassified documents, special master seeks specifics

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AP Mar-a-Lago aerial view

An aerial view of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, on Aug. 31. Photo by Steve Helber/The Associated Press.

The special master reviewing documents seized by the FBI from the Mar-a-Lago home of former President Donald Trump wants both sides to state whether the inventory of items seized is complete and accurate.

Senior U.S. District Judge Raymond J. Dearie issued an order Thursday that requires declarations or affidavits from Trump’s side and an appropriate government official on the matter.

Dearie was appointed at the suggestion of Trump’s lawyers to review seized documents for privilege claims. Trump is the plaintiff in the case.

Dearie’s order follows claims by Trump in interviews and on social media that the FBI planted documents during the Aug. 8 search, and that the government inaccurately described documents as classified that were in fact declassified, according to Washington Post coverage of the order.

Dearie was initially ordered to review all the seized documents, including the roughly 100 documents marked as classified. But the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Atlanta ruled Wednesday that the government doesn’t have to turn over the classified documents to Dearie, and it can continue to use those documents in its criminal investigation.

Dearie set deadlines for the declarations of Sept. 26 for the government and Sept. 30 for Trump’s legal team. Dearie specified that the plaintiff should submit an affidavit or a declaration listing:

    • Items in the government’s property inventory that it didn’t seize in the Aug. 8 search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.

    • A list of items in the government’s inventory in which the government’s description of the contents is incorrect or in which its description of the location found is incorrect.

    • A list of seized items that were not included in the property inventory.

Dearie wrote that the Trump submission will be his “final opportunity to raise any factual dispute as to the completeness and accuracy of the detailed property inventory.”

The government then has until Oct. 14 to respond to factual disputes about the inventory.

See also: “Will Trump be indicted in Mar-a-Lago documents case? His lawyers see possibility, object to special master request” “Who filed phony document in Trump Mar-a-Lago search case?” “Trump requests special master for review of documents seized by FBI” “DOJ files motion to unseal warrant, property receipt relating to search of Trump’s home” “Trump search-warrant affidavit, released on judge’s orders, cites sensitive documents, possible obstruction” “Meet Raymond Dearie, the judge picked to oversee Mar-a-Lago documents review” “Judge who signed Trump search warrant is targeted; critics seek ‘judgment of God’” “Could Trump be banned from office if he’s convicted of taking government documents?”

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