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Trump asks Supreme Court to intervene in Mar-a-Lago documents dispute

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Former U.S. President Donald Trump looks on during a rally in Warren, Michigan, U.S., October 1, 2022.

Dieu-nalio Chery | Reutersm

Former President Donald Trump asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday to intervene in a dispute over the Department of Justice’s review of documents seized by the FBI during a raid on his Florida residence.

Trump in a court filing urged the Supreme Court to vacate a part of a ruling last week by the eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals which allowed the DOJ to resume using classified documents seized within the raid as a part of its ongoing criminal probe of Trump. The attorneys asked the Supreme Court to vacate the a part of that call that limited the scope of a third-party watchdog from reviewing documents bearing classification markings.

Lawyers for the previous president argue that the eleventh Circuit lacks “jurisdiction to review, much less stay” an order from a lower federal court judge, who had appointed that watchdog, referred to as a special master, to look at all the seized documents before the DOJ was allowed to make use of them in its investigation.

That special master was himself blocked from reviewing documents marked classified by the eleventh Circuit’s ruling.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas later Tuesday informed the DOJ he wants the department to answer to Trump’s request by Oct. 11. Thomas handles emergency requests related to the eleventh Circuit.

The Aug. 8 raid uncovered greater than 10,000 government documents at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach. Greater than 100 of those documents were marked classified or highly classified, in accordance with court records.

The raid got here after months of effort by the federal government to get Trump to return documents the federal government believed he might need taken when he left office in early 2021. By law, government documents held by the White House have to be given to the National Archives and Records Administration when a president leaves office.

Weeks after the raid, Trump asked a federal judge in Florida, Aileen Cannon, to appoint a special master to review the documents seized within the search. The special master would determine if any of the records ought to be withheld from use within the DOJ’s criminal probe on the grounds they’re protected by the attorney-client privilege or executive privilege.

Cannon granted that request, appointing Judge Raymond Dearie, who sits within the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Recent York, as special master. At the identical time, Cannon temporarily blocked the DOJ from using any of the documents for investigative purposes.

Federal prosecutors then appealed to the eleventh Circuit, asking that court to lift Cannon’s order because it applied to the classified material seized within the raid. A 3-judge panel within the appeals court unanimously granted that bid.

Of their filing Tuesday asking the Supreme Court to reverse the appeals court ruling, Trump’s lawyers said Cannon’s appointment of a special master “is just not appealable on an interlocutory basis.” An interlocutory appeal seeks to reverse a lower court’s ruling when a case continues to be pending, versus after it ended.

“Nonetheless, the Eleventh Circuit granted a stay of the Special Master Order, effectively compromising the integrity of the well-established policy against piecemeal appellate review and ignoring the District Court’s broad discretion without justification,” the filing said.

“This unwarranted stay ought to be vacated because it impairs substantially the continuing, time-sensitive work of the Special Master,” Trump’s lawyers wrote.

The attorneys also said that any limit on the special master conducting a comprehensive review of the documents “erodes public confidence in our system of justice.”

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