Mar-a-Lago search: Trump asks Supreme Court to intervene in dispute with FBI

Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to intervene in a dispute with the FBI over how to handle documents seized earlier this year from his Mar-a-Lago estate.

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In an emergency request, attorneys for Trump asked the nation’s highest court to vacate an order issued last month by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit that allowed the federal government to review documents with classification markings that had been seized in the Aug. 8 search.

According to The Associated Press, Trump’s lawyers submitted the application to Justice Clarence Thomas who oversees emergency matters from Florida and other states in the South. He can act on his own or refer the emergency appeal to other members of the Supreme Court. As of Tuesday evening, the Supreme Court said the Justice Department has been asked to respond to the petition by next Tuesday, October 11.

On Sept. 21, the federal appeals court ruled in favor of allowing authorities to resume their investigation into the records. Earlier, a federal judge had ordered officials to halt their review to allow a third-party to review the seized documents for possible attorney-client or executive privilege issues.

In the filing Tuesday, attorneys for Trump argued that the appeals court lacked the jurisdiction needed to stay parts of the lower court’s order appointing a special master to review the seized records. They argued that the appeals court’s ruling “should be vacated as it impairs substantially the ongoing, time-sensitive work of the Special Master.”

“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,” attorneys wrote.

Government attorneys requested and were granted access to about 100 documents that were recovered from Mar-a-Lago which bore classification markings, “including markings reflecting the highest levels of classification and extremely restricted distribution,” authorities said.

Investigators said they recovered about 11,000 documents from a storage room at Mar-a-Lago and from Trump’s private office. In earlier court records, authorities said the documents included some that were so sensitive that they required FBI and DOJ officials to get additional clearances before reviewing them.

Authorities searched Mar-a-Lago three days after a judge approved a warrant as part of an investigation into possible violations of the Espionage Act, and into obstruction of justice and unlawful concealment or removal of government records.

Officials with the National Archives and Records Administration sought records from Trump throughout 2021 and got 15 boxes of miscellaneous papers — including more than 180 confidential records — in January, according to court records. Officials subsequently served the former president with a grand jury subpoena that prompted him to turn over 38 more classified documents in June, authorities said.

A representative of the president certified that the documents were the last confidential records in boxes taken from the White House to Mar-a-Lago after Trump’s presidency. However, officials said they later got information indicating that the former president had failed to turn over all records in his possession, prompting them to seek a warrant to search the estate.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon subsequently appointed Judge Raymond Dearie to serve as special master in the dispute.