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Judge doesn’t require Trump to attest that FBI’s list of seized records is accurate

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Former U.S. President Donald Trump attends a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, September 3, 2022.

Andrew Kelly | Reuters

A federal judge on Thursday ruled that former President Donald Trump doesn’t have to supply the court with a sworn statement attesting as to if he believes the list of things seized by the FBI from his Florida estate is accurate and complete.

The order from U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon got here after U.S. Senior Judge Raymond Dearie, appointed as special master at Trump’s request to oversee a review of the records seized from Mar-a-lago, had ordered Trump’s lawyers to let him know in the event that they disputed the accuracy of the federal government’s property inventory list.

Trump has claimed, without evidence, that the FBI can have planted evidence when it searched Mar-a-lago on Aug. 8.

Late on Wednesday, Trump’s lawyers lodged a criticism with the court about Dearie’s demand, saying it exceeded the scope of Dearie’s authority.

“There shall be no separate requirement on [Trump] at this stage, prior to the review of any of the seized materials, to lodge ex ante final objections to the accuracy of [the government’s] inventory, its descriptions, or its contents,” Cannon wrote in her order.

“The court’s appointment order didn’t contemplate that obligation,” she added.

The federal government has said it carted away greater than 11,000 records, about 100 of them marked as classified.

The Justice Department, which was also ordered to supply a sworn statement attesting to the accuracy of the inventory, has made some amendments to its list, resembling adding 53 documents.

Dearie was appointed by Cannon over objections from the Justice Department to review the greater than 11,000 records seized from Mar-a-lago on Aug. 8. He’s required to weed out any records that could possibly be subject to claims of attorney-client privilege or executive privilege, a legal doctrine that may shield some White House communications from disclosure.

Initially Cannon ordered him to incorporate the classified materials in his review, however the U.S. Court of Appeals for the eleventh Circuit reversed that call after the Justice Department filed an appeal.

On Wednesday, Trump’s lawyers told Dearie they objected to his request to handle whether or not they disputed the accuracy of the FBI’s property inventory list, claiming such a requirement “exceeds the grant of authority” that Cannon gave the special master.

They said it is tough to seek out a vendor who can process the records in time to fulfill the deadlines. The roughly 11,000 records, they are saying, amount to about 200,000 pages.

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