Trump was ordered to submit the case after U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, the Florida judge assigned to his case seeking a special master, identified several flaws in his initial request on Monday for more oversight of the FBI’s review of seized evidence.
In Friday night’s new filing, Trump pointed to additional legal discussion of case law that he said supported his claim. One of these cases concerned his former lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Nowhere in the filing did Trump suggest that any documents dealing with attorney-client privilege were seized during the FBI’s search of his compound.
The new answer seemed to fall short of the elaboration that Cannon sought. Trump did not specify what exactly he hoped a special master — a third-party attorney — would filter out, besides general hints of “privileged and potentially privileged documents.”
He also did not attach to the filing a request for immediate action from the judge — such as a request for a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction — despite the judge’s request that he submit it to him ” the specific relief sought, including any request for an injunction pending resolution of the motion.”
Trump claimed the redacted affidavit recently released by the FBI submitted to the court to obtain the search warrant raises “more questions than answers.”
“The redacted affidavit underscores why this motion should be granted, as it provides almost no information that would allow Movant to understand why the raid took place or what was taken from his home,” Trump wrote in the filing.
Filing follows release of redacted affidavit
Trump’s submission on Friday came hours after the Justice Department unsealed a redacted version of the affidavit it used to obtain the warrant, which exposed new details about the FBI investigation and the very nature sensitive classified documents that had previously been recovered from the Palm Beach, Florida, resort town.
In his order in Trump’s search challenge, Cannon told the former president’s lawyers to expand on their case as to why the court has the ability to intervene at this time, explain what exactly Trump is asking and to clarify whether the Justice Department was served with Trump’s special main motion.
Cannon, a Trump appointee, was not alone in noting that Monday’s original motion lacked some of the legal elements one would expect with a request like the one Trump was making.
Several legal experts questioned the seriousness of Trump’s efforts in court after Monday’s initial filing.
For one thing, Trump waited two weeks after the execution of the Mar-a-Lago search on Aug. 8 to formally ask a court to intervene. request – which would encourage the court to act quickly.
The discussion of Trump’s legal arguments as to why the judge had the authority to grant his request was thin. Much of Monday’s filing was instead filled with politically charged rhetoric. Among other things, Monday’s complaint bragged about Trump’s 2024 polling numbers, repeated its rebukes with the FBI’s 2020 Trump-Russia investigation, and repeated the full text of a “message” that Trump allegedly attempted to convey through his lawyers to Attorney General Merrick Garland about the “angry” mood the country was in after the raid.
What the ministry said about how it reviews evidence from Mar-a-Lago
Trump’s new attempt to refine his bid for a special master came after the freshly released affidavit made public new details about how the Justice Department approached the search. The FBI told the court during the warrant application that it planned to send a “privilege review team” of agents to Mar-a-Lago along with the agents working on the investigation. The Privilege Review Team would be tasked with searching the room known as “Office 45” and would “conduct a review of documents seized” from there “to identify and segregate documents or data potentially containing privileged information between attorney and customer”.
The affidavit outlined the procedures the privilege review team would use to screen documents containing privileged information. If the privilege review team believed that a document obtained could be a privilege, they would either ask a court to consider whether it was; work with the potential lien holder to establish whether the lien is a lien, including, if necessary, seeking judicial review; or postpone the court process while the documents have been held for investigators working on the case.
“If at any time law enforcement assigned to the investigation subsequently identifies data or documents that they consider to be potentially confidential between attorney and client, they will discontinue review of such data or documents. identified and will refer the documents to the Lien Review for further review by the Lien Review Team,” the FBI said in its filing to U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who authorized the search.
In the affidavit, the FBI said it found 184 classified documents during its examination of 15 boxes recovered from Mar-a-Lago in January.
“Furthermore, there are probable reasons to believe that additional documents containing classified information [National Defense Information] or that are presidential records subject to record retention requirements currently remain at the PREMISES,” the affidavit reads. “There are also probable reasons to believe that evidence of obstruction will be found at the PREMISES.
This story has been updated with additional details.