The Special Master assigned to the case of the FBI raid and seizure of documents from former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate has given his lawyers just eight days to provide proof that any documents were planted by FBI agents.
Judge Raymond Dearie laid out a “case management plan” in which he ordered, “No later than September 30, 2022, Plaintiff shall submit a declaration or affidavit that includes each of the following factual matters,” and required that Trump’s legal team provide “a list of any specific items set forth in the Detailed Property Inventory that Plaintiff asserts were not seized from the Premises on August 8, 2022.”
In a recent interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Trump said he had declassified all of the documents in question.
“There doesn’t have to be a process, as I understand it. If you’re the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying, ‘It’s declassified.’ Even by thinking about it,” he asserted.
(Video: Daily Mail)
As for the claim that FBI agents planted evidence, Trump said, “The problem that you have is they go into rooms – they won’t let anybody near – they [FBI] wouldn’t even let them in the same building,” he said of his own attorneys.
“Did they drop anything on those piles? Or did they do it later? There’s no chain of custody here with them,” Trump argued.
“Wouldn’t that be on videotape, potentially?'” Hannity asked. Trump told him the FBI asked him to turn off security cameras during the raid.
‘No, I don’t think so. I mean, they were in a room,” Trump said. It is unclear whether the security cameras were indeed turned off or not.
The former president said the FBI raid was yet another witch hunt and compared it to the collusion hoax he called “Russia, Russia, Russia.”
The forthcoming submission of evidence – if there is one – “shall be Plaintiff’s final opportunity to raise any factual dispute as to the completeness and accuracy of the Detailed Property Inventory,” wrote Dearie.
Trump-appointed federal judge Aileen Cannon was overruled by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals after the Department of Justice appealed her ruling that Dearie should go through each of the documents in order for Trump’s lawyers to make claims of privilege. The DOJ argued that Trump had no right to have the documents in the first place.
The three-judge panel included two appointed by Trump and one appointed by former President Obama. They ruled that a criminal investigation by the DOJ can proceed and ordered the Special Master to cease going through the documents.
Lawyers from both sides will go back and forth with lists of documents in dispute throughout September, and by October 14th, the DOJ will have to submit their list of items in dispute for Judge Dearie’s assessment. The process will continue from there, likely through all of October, the Daily Mail reported.
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