The ‘special master’ reviewing 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 raiding his club.
Judge Raymond Dearie included the order in a new ‘case management plan’ to sift through some 11,000 documents – and follows Trump repeatedly making the claim publicly without presenting evidence of FBI wrongdoing.
“No later than September 30, 2022, Plaintiff shall submit an affidavit or declaration that includes each of the following factual matters,” the judge wrote, including “a list of any specific items set forth in the Itemized Property Inventory that Plaintiff claims were not seized from the premises on 8 August 2022.’
The inventory lists items FBI agents cataloged after the Aug. 8 search of Trump’s private club in West Palm Beach, Florida. The Justice Department says it included more than 100 documents marked “classified,” with some carrying top secret markings.
Trump claims in an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity that he ‘declassified everything’, which appears to contradict his claim that the material was planted. Dearie, a senior federal judge in New York, has also pressed Trump’s team to produce evidence that he had done so.
Raymond Dearie, a veteran New York judge serving as ‘special master’, has given Donald Trump’s lawyers until Friday to produce a list of ‘specific items’ they claim ‘were not seized from the premises’
Trump made his latest allegations of planting evidence, which would be a felony, shortly after telling Hannity that the FBI might be looking for Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails during the search.
“The problem you have is they go into rooms — they won’t let anybody near — they wouldn’t even let them into the same building,” he said of his own attorneys.
‘Did they lose anything on those piles? Or did they do it later? There is no chain of custody here with them, Trump said.
“Wouldn’t it possibly be on videotape?” Hannity asked him. Trump told him the FBI asked him to turn off security cameras during the search, but they kept running.
‘No, I think not. I mean, they were in a room, Trump said, dismissing the idea.
Some of Trump’s lawyers have made similar claims.
‘Did they lose anything on those piles? Or did they do it later? There is no chain of custody here with them, Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity
Documents seized during the August 8 search of Trump’s property are pictured on August 30. Trump’s lawyers have declined to say in legal filings whether Trump 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 list of ‘special items’ Trump’s team claims were not seized from Mar-a-Lago
He lays out a schedule to sort through 11,000 documents, according to the DOJ, was held at Mar-a-Lago
Trump has also called it a ‘set-up’ and compared it to ‘Russia, Russia, Russia’ and ‘hoax’.
The filing “shall be the plaintiff’s last opportunity to raise any factual dispute about the completeness and accuracy of the detailed property inventory,” wrote Dearie, who was one of two candidates for the position that Trump’s lawyers recommended to a Trump-appointed federal judge , Aileen Cannon.
A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Cannon’s ruling that Dearie should review the classified material so Trump’s lawyers could make privileged 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 based on classified records seized from the club can proceed, and it barred the special master from sifting through the classified documents to weigh privilege claims.
By October 14 at the latest, the government must 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 rule on those in dispute. That process will run until October.