Trump kept classified documents in cardboard boxes with Christmas ornaments and photos of himself: feds

Trump kept classified documents in cardboard boxes with Christmas ornaments and photos of himself: feds
  • The feds released new details of the "haphazard" way they say Trump kept documents at Mar-a-Lago.

  • Classified documents were found in boxes with Christmas ornaments and photos of himself, they said.

  • Prosecutors revealed these details in fighting Trump's claims that they, not he, were careless.

Federal prosecutors released new details of the "haphazard" way they say Donald Trump stored classified documents at Mar-a-Lago — including inside boxes that also held Christmas ornaments.

Trump treated the nation's secrets like random "keepsakes," special counsel Jack Smith complained in a new classified documents case filing Monday night.

The 30-page filing challenges defense claims that prosecutors were the ones who were reckless with classified documents.

It alleges in the greatest detail yet how Trump commingled secrets and mementos in "disordered" stacks of tumbling, spilling boxes. It's the latest court battle to delay a trial date indefinitely.

This DOJ evidence photo shows a box containing classified documents on the floor of a Mar-a-Lago storage room, next to gifts and a case of Diet Coke.
Classified documents on the floor of a storage area at Mar-a-Lago, next to presidential gifts and a case of Diet Coke.DOJ/Business Insider

"Trump personally chose to keep documents containing some of the nation's most highly guarded secrets in cardboard boxes," including printer-paper boxes with lids, Smith's team wrote.

Classified documents were stored "along with a collection of other personally chosen keepsakes of various sizes and shapes from his presidency — newspapers, thank you notes, Christmas ornaments, magazines, clothing, and photographs of himself and others."

"At the end of his presidency, he took his cluttered collection of keepsakes to Mar-a-Lago, his personal residence and social club, where the boxes traveled from one readily accessible location to another — a public ballroom, an office space, a bathroom, and a basement storage area," prosecutors wrote.

Newly released photographs from the filing shows boxes stored alongside a case of Diet Coke, Trump's beverage of choice.

"After they landed in stacks in the storage room, several boxes fell and splayed their contents on the floor, and boxes were moved to Trump's residence on more than one occasion so he could pick through them."

Trump's lawyers are trying to get the case thrown out by complaining about the FBI's admitted shuffling of the order of some documents and objects within their individual boxes as they seized evidence in August, 2022.

The precise order of the items in each box as it left the White House is critical to his defense, Trump's lawyers argue.

The defense has said that dates on news clippings and other personal items demonstrate how long ago classified documents were placed among them, allowing Trump to argue that he then forgot about them and never knowingly possessed them at Mar-a-Lago.

A DOJ evidence photo showing an apparent Christmas decoration in a box that also contained a folder marked "Top Secret."
An apparent Christmas decoration in a box that also contained a folder marked "Top Secret."DOJ/Business Insider

In pushing back Monday, prosecutors said that Trump can raise this as a defense — and the case doesn't need to be thrown out entirely — because they have always maintained "box-to-box integrity."

And Trump himself often rifled through their contents, which also shifted as boxes toppled and spilled, prosecutors also said.

"The FBI agents who conducted the search did so professionally, thoroughly, and carefully under challenging circumstances," they wrote Monday, "particularly given the cluttered state of the boxes and the substantial volume of highly classified documents Trump had retained."

This story was updated to add additional photos.

Read the original article on Business Insider