The ‘special master’ going through documents seized at Mar-a-Lago has given Donald Trump’s lawyers eight days to back up his claims that FBI agents planted material while carrying out a search of his club.
Judge Raymond Dearie included the order in a new ‘case management plan’ for processing through some 11,000 documents – and follows Trump repeatedly making the allegation publicly without offering evidence of FBI misconduct.
‘No later than September 30, 2022, Plaintiff shall submit a declaration or affidavit that includes each of the following factual matters,’ the judge wrote, including ‘a list of any specific items set forth in the Detailed Property Inventory that Plaintiff asserts were not seized from the Premises on August 8, 2022.’
The inventory lists items that FBI agents catalogued following the August 8 search of Trump’s private club in West Palm Beach, Florida. The Justice Department says that included more than 100 documents marked ‘classified,’ with some bearing top secret markings.
Trump, in an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, claims he ‘declassified everything,’ which appears to contradict his claim that the material was planted. Dearie, a senior federal judge in New York, has also pushed Trump’s team to provide evidence that he had done so.
Raymond Dearie, a veteran New York judge who is serving as ‘special master,’ has given Donald Trump’s lawyers until Friday to provide a list of ‘specific items’ that they assert ‘were not seized from the Premises’
Trump made his latest allegations of planting evidence, which would be a crime, shortly after telling Hannity that perhaps the FBI was looking for Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails during the search.
‘The problem that you have is they go into rooms – they won’t let anybody near – they wouldn’t even let them in the same building,’ he said of his own attorneys.
‘Did they drop anything on those piles? Or did they do it later? There’s no chain of custody here with them,’ Trump said.
‘Wouldn’t that be on videotape, potentially?’ Hannity asked him. Trump told him that the FBI asked him to turn off security cameras during the search but that they were kept running.
‘No, I don’t think so. I mean, they were in a room,’ Trump said, brushing off the idea.
Some of Trump’s lawyers have made similar claims.
‘Did they drop anything on those piles? Or did they do it later? There’s no chain of custody here with them,’ Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity
Documents seized during the search of Trump’s estate on August 8 are pictured on August 30. Trump’s lawyers have declined to say in legal filings whether Trump had ordered them declassified while he was in office and had the authority
Judge Raymond Dearie has pressed Trump’s lawyers on the president’s claim that he declassified materials – a claim Trump returned to in an interview with Sean Hannity
Judge Dearie wants a list of ‘speciic items’ that Trump’s team claims were not seized from Mar-a-Lago
He is setting out a schedule to sort through 11,000 documents DOJ says were held at Mar-a-Lago
Trump has also called it a ‘set-up’ and compared it to ‘Russia, Russia, Russia’ and ‘hoaxes.’
The submission ‘shall be Plaintiff’s final opportunity to raise any factual dispute as to the completeness and accuracy of the Detailed Property Inventory,’ wrote Dearie, who was one of two candidates for the post that Trump’s lawyers recommended to a Trump-appointed federal judge, Aileen Cannon.
A three-judge panel by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Cannon’s ruling that Dearie should go through the classified material so that Trump’s lawyers could make privilege claims. The Justice Department had appealed, arguing that Trump had no interest in possessing the material.
That panel included two Trump-appointed judges and one appointed by Barack Obama.
It ruled that a Justice Department criminal investigation relying on classified records seized from the club can proceed, and it stopped the special master from sorting through the classified documents to weigh privilege claims.
By October 14th, the government will have to submit a document listing any factual disputes with items on the list to be reviewed.
During September, the two sides will trade lists of documents that may or may not be privileged, and Judge Dearie will weigh in on the disputed ones. That process will run through October.