Donald Trump’s Palm Beach, Florida resort Mar-a-Lago
was raided by federal officials on August 8, 2022. On Friday, the Justice
Department unsealed an inventory of seized items that showed that aside from
the boxes of documents marked “classified,” “secret” and “top secret,” the FBI
also found 10,000 documents from Trump’s home.
The Department of Justice’s court filing shows investigators
found more than 40 empty folders with “classified” banners on them at
Mar-a-Lago, but it’s unclear what happened to the information inside the
Four dozen empty folders carried the banner “Return
to Staff Secretary/Military Aide,” according to the property inventory unsealed
by a judge Friday.
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Judge Aileen Cannon ordered the information on the
property inventory be unsealed after Donald Trump requested a special master be
appointed to review the evidence collected by FBI on the August 8 raid.
Trump’s lawyers said the documents seized during
the raid were the former president’s personal records and complained that “ongoing
negotiations” with the National Archives had “suddenly been transformed into a
Justice Department lawyers said government
documents retrieved belong to the White House and not to Donald Trump. They
added that Trump and his lawyers had flouted a subpoena demanding the return of
all documents with classification markings.
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On Thursday, US District Judge Aileen Cannon had
said she would make public a more detailed list of what the FBI seized from
Mar-a-Lago. She did not, however, rule on Trump’s request for a special master
to check if the documents seized from Trump home include any attorney-client or
executive privilege issues.
The Justice Department was prepared for the
possibility of a more detailed list being released. “The government is prepared,
given the extraordinary circumstances, to unseal the more detailed receipt and
provide it immediately to Plaintiff,” the DOJ said in a court filing.
The Justice Department characterises the threat
posed from these documents staying at Trump’s home as related to national
security. Trump’s lawyers, however, see this as an issue akin to not returning
library books on time. “We’ve characterised it at times as an
overdue-library-book scenario where there’s a dispute – not even a dispute –
but ongoing negotiations with [the National Archives] that has suddenly been
transformed into a criminal investigation,” said Trump lawyer Jim Trusty.