The ‘special master’ going through documents seized at Mar-a-Lago has given Donald Trump’s lawyers eight days to back up his claims that FBI agents planted equipment during a search of his club.
Judge Raymond Dearie included the order in a new ‘case management plan’ for processing some 11,000 documents – and follows Trump making the allegation publicly repeatedly without offering evidence of FBI misconduct.
“By September 30, 2022, the plaintiff must submit a declaration or affidavit including each of the following factual elements,” the judge wrote, including “a list of all specific elements set forth in the detailed inventory of property that the plaintiff claims were not seized at the premises on August 8, 2022.’
The inventory lists items that FBI agents cataloged following 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,” some with top secret marks.
Trump, in an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, claims he “declassified everything,” which seems to contradict his claim that the material was planted. Dearie, a senior federal judge in New York, also pushed Trump’s team to provide evidence that he did.
Raymond Dearie, a veteran New York judge who acts as a “special master,” has given Donald Trump’s lawyers until Friday to provide a list of “specific items” they say “did not have seized on the premises”
Trump made his latest allegations of filing evidence, which would be a crime, shortly after telling Hannity that the FBI may be looking for Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails during the search.
“The problem you have is they walk into rooms – they won’t let anyone near – they won’t even let them into the same building,” he said of his own lawyers.
“Did they drop anything on those piles?” Or did they do it later? There’s no chain of custody here with them,’ Trump said.
“Wouldn’t that be on videotape, potentially?” Hannity asked him. Trump told her that the FBI asked her to turn off the security cameras during the search, but they continued to work.
‘No, I do not think so. I mean, they were in a room,’ Trump said, dismissing the idea.
Some of Trump’s attorneys have made similar claims.
“Did they drop anything on those piles?” Or did they do it later? There’s no chain of custody here with them,’ Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity
Documents seized during the search of Trump’s estate on August 8 are pictured on August 30. Trump’s attorneys declined to say in the legal documents whether Trump ordered their declassifications while in office and in power.
Judge Raymond Dearie pressed Trump’s lawyers on the president’s claim that he declassified documents – a claim Trump backtracked on in an interview with Sean Hannity
Judge Dearie wants a list of ‘specific items’ that Trump’s team says were not seized at Mar-a-Lago
He sets a schedule to sort through 11,000 documents, according to the DOJ, held at Mar-a-Lago
Trump also called it a “set-up” and compared it to “Russia, Russia, Russia” and “hoaxes.”
The submission “will be the Applicant’s last opportunity to raise any factual disputes as to the completeness and accuracy of the detailed property inventory,” wrote Dearie, who was one of two candidates for the position that the Trump’s attorneys have recommended a federal judge appointed by Trump, Aileen Canon.
A three-judge panel at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Cannon’s ruling that Dearie should go through classified documents so Trump’s lawyers could assert privilege. The Justice Department had appealed, arguing that Trump had no interest in owning the material.
This panel included two judges appointed by Trump and one appointed by Barack Obama.
He ruled that a Justice Department criminal investigation based on classified records seized from the club could proceed, and he blocked the special master from sorting through classified documents to weigh claims of privilege.
By October 14, the government must submit a document listing any factual disputes with the items on the list to be reviewed.
During September, the two sides will exchange lists of documents that may or may not be privileged, and Judge Dearie will rule on those that are in dispute. This process will continue until October.