Donald Trump’s legal team is pushing back on a request by Special Master Judge Raymond Dearie that the former president “disclose specific information regarding declassification” of the documents seized during the FBI’s unprecedented raid of Mar-a-Lago.
In a court filing, Trump’s attorneys said the “time and place” for making such a disclosure would come in a motion filed in a trial to recover his property, further arguing a need to preserve a defense against a “subsequent indictment.”
At issue here is what actions did Trump take to declassify the documents that were found in his home — his legal team hinted at the possibility that he declassified more than 300 documents recovered by the FBI, according to Yahoo News.
“The Plaintiff respectfully sees no indication the District Court planned to carve out related litigation for a merits determination by the issuing magistrate for the warrant in question. Most importantly, none of the District Court’s Orders have ever indicated that this was even a consideration,” the court filing stated.
“Similarly, the Draft Plan requires that the Plaintiff disclose specific information regarding declassification to the Court and to the Government,” Trump’s attorneys continued. “We respectfully submit that the time and place for affidavits or declarations would be in connection with a Rule 41 motion that specifically alleges declassification as a component of its argument for return of property. Otherwise, the Special Master process will have forced the Plaintiff to fully and specifically disclose a defense to the merits of any subsequent indictment without such a requirement being evident in the District Court’s order.”
The Justice Department argued that without evidence, the argument is invalid.
“Plaintiff principally seeks to raise questions about the classification status of the records and their categorization under the Presidential Records Act (‘PRA’). But plaintiff does not actually assert — much less provide any evidence — that any of the seized records bearing classification markings have been declassified,” the DOJ wrote in its filing, according to Yahoo News.
“Such possibilities should not be given weight absent plaintiff’s putting forward competent evidence,” the department added.
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