Trump asks the Supreme Court to intervene in dispute over records FBI seized from Mar-a-Lago

Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump.Brandon Bell/Getty Images
  • Trump asked the Supreme Court to weigh in on his dispute over records seized from Mar-a-Lago.

  • His lawyers asked Justice Clarence Thomas for an emergency order concerning 100 classified records.

  • Thomas ordered the Justice Department to respond by October 11.

Former President Donald Trump's legal team asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday to intervene in a dispute over classified records the FBI seized in a search of his South Florida residence and private club, arguing that a federal appeals court had wrongly excluded them from a third-party arbiter's review.

Trump's appeal to the high court marked the latest salvo in the former president's escalating legal battle with the Justice Department over the seizure of more than 11,000 records from Mar-a-Lago,  some of which were marked top-secret. The FBI's court-authorized search came as part of an ongoing criminal investigation into the former president's handling of national security information and possible obstruction of justice.

In a court filing Tuesday, Trump's lawyers asked the Supreme Court to intervene in the legal dispute and keep about 100 classified documents under the authority of an outside reviewer — known as a special master — appointed to sift out records that may be covered by attorney-client or executive privilege.

The request came two weeks after the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled that the Justice Department should have access to the roughly 100 classified records, overturning Judge Aileen Cannon's decision to include those documents in the special master review and to halt their use in the criminal investigation.

In their filing, Trump's lawyers stopped short of asking the Supreme Court to prevent the Justice Department from reviewing those classified records. The former president's legal team instead sought more limited relief, proposing only that the records also fall under the special master's review to instill public confidence and ensure fairness in the investigation.

Indeed, as University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladeck noted on Twitter, Trump's appeal to the Supreme Court was not only "doomed to fail" but also "unlikely to accomplish much even if it succeeds."

Trump's legal team said in its Supreme Court filing Tuesday that the 11th Circuit's ruling compromised "the integrity of the well-established policy against piecemeal appellate review" and ignored Cannon's "broad discretion without justification."

"This unwarranted stay should be vacated as it impairs substantially the ongoing, time-sensitive work of the Special Master," the filing said. "Moreover, any limit on the comprehensive and transparent review of materials seized in the extraordinary raid of a President's home erodes public confidence in our system of justice."

Trump's lawyers submitted their filing to Justice Clarence Thomas, who is assigned to oversee emergency requests arising out of the 11th Circuit. Thomas instructed the Justice Department to file a response by October 11.

Cannon, a Trump appointee, drew criticism for granting the former president's request to appoint an outside special master to review records the former president hoarded at his South Florida estate. In that ruling, which temporarily blocked the Justice Department from reviewing the records as part of its criminal investigation, legal experts saw Cannon as showing unusual solicitude to the president who appointed her to the federal bench in 2020.

The Justice Department appealed her decision to the 11th Circuit, where a three-judge panel rejected the possibility that the former president could have an "individual interest in or need for" the more than 100 classified records seized from Mar-a-Lago.

The 11th Circuit panel, consisting of two Trump appointees and an Obama appointee, also appeared to embrace the Justice Department's argument that any further delay in the review of the classified records could cause "irreparable harm" to the government and the public.

"It is self-evident that the public has a strong interest in ensuring that the storage of the classified records did not result in 'exceptionally grave damage to the national security,'" the 11th Circuit judges wrote.

Cannon appointed Raymond Dearie, a senior judge on the federal trial court in Brooklyn, as the special master. In response to Trump's baseless suggestion that the FBI "planted" evidence, Dearie ordered the former president's legal team to submit a sworn declaration about whether it believed federal agents inaccurately summarized the items seized from Mar-a-Lago.

But last week, Cannon spared Trump from having to back up claims of planted evidence, ruling that her appointment of a special master "did not contemplate that obligation" falling on the former president. Cannon also extended the deadline for the special master review to December 16.

Dearie had previously been expected to complete his review by November 30.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

Read the original article on Business Insider