The DOJ is pushing back against Trump's claim the FBI planted evidence at Mar-a-Lago, as he comes under pressure to provide evidence

In this aerial view, former U.S. President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate is seen on September 14, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida.Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
  • The DOJ pushed back against Donald Trump's claim the FBI planted evidence.

  • it released an updated inventory of items it seized from Mar-a-Lago.

  • Neither Trump nor his attorneys have backed his planting claim with evidence.

The Justice Department rejected Donald Trump's claim the FBI planted evidence in the August 8 search of Mar-a-Lago and challenged the former president to provide evidence to back it.

In legal filings Monday, the DOJ submitted a list of all of the items retrieved by the FBI in the search, which contains slight changes from an earlier inventory and an affidavit from an agent saying it was all retrieved in the search.

The DOJ only had one day to complete the earlier list submitted in August, and the new inventory filters out some material that might be protected under privilege rules, shielding some communications by the president.


The affidavit says the list is a "full and accurate" description of items found in storage facilities and private rooms at Trump's Palm Beach resort.

"I am not aware of any documents or materials seized from the Premises on that date by the FBI that are not reflected in the Revised Detailed Property Inventory … other than materials that the Privilege Review Team has not provided to the Case Team," the affidavit said.

Judge Raymond Dearie, the special master appointed by a federal judge to review the documents seized, had requested that the DOJ provide an inventory of the items retrieved from Mar-a-Lago, and has given Trump's legal team a Friday deadline to provide evidence showing what items were not kept at the luxury country club.

In a filing Tuesday, the DOJ more broadly challenged Trump to back his arguments with evidence in a filing on delays in digitizing records to be turned over to Dearie. 

"Plaintiff will need to participate in the process by categorizing documents and providing sworn declarations as the Amended Case Management Plan contemplates," the DOJ's attorneys write.

Trump, his allies, and some of his attorneys have for weeks in media interviews been pushing the conspiracy theory that evidence was planted at Mar-a-Lago. The former president has sought to portray the raid as part of a political witch hunt against him.

But his lawyers have notably not made this argument in court, where knowingly presenting false claims can be punished. They have also not presented evidence for his claim that he declassified swaths of top secret documents retrieved by the FBI in the search.

Trump's lawyers went to court to get the appointment of a special master in the case, which delayed the FBI's probe. But some legal experts have said the move appears to have backfired, with Dearie exposing flaws and inconsistencies in the defenses mounted by Trump and his lawyers.



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