The US Supreme Court rejected Trump’s request for seized documents

Oct 13 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a bid by an independent arbitrator to keep secret documents seized by former President Donald Trump from his Florida home by the FBI as part of a legal battle against investigators probing sensitive government dealings. records.

In a summary order, the justices rejected Trump’s emergency request to overturn a lower court’s ruling barring jury review of more than 100 documents marked classified among the roughly 11,000 records seized at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm. Beach on August 8.

There were no publicly noted dissents from any of the nine justices to the decision, and two days later the U.S. Justice Department insisted on rejecting Trump’s request and keeping the classified documents out of the hands of an arbitrator known as a special master.

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The court’s 6-3 conservative majority includes three Trump appointees who leave office in January 2021.

Federal authorities obtained a court-approved warrant to search Trump’s home in a Justice Department criminal investigation on suspicion that he had not returned all of his classified documents after his presidency ended.

Investigators were looking for evidence of possible crimes related to the illegal possession of national security information and obstructing a federal investigation. Trump has denied wrongdoing and said the investigation was politically motivated.

Trump went to court on August 22 in an attempt to limit access to the documents as the Justice Department continues its criminal investigation.

Former US President Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Youngstown, Ohio, US on September 17, 2022. REUTERS/Gaelen Morse/File Photo

U.S. District Judge Eileen Cannon granted Trump’s request last month to temporarily bar the government from using the seized materials in its investigation, subject to personal or attorney-client confidentiality or administrative privilege until the special master determines. Some White House communications are protected from disclosure — thus off-limits to investigators.

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Appointed to the bench by Trump, Cannon appointed retired U.S. Judge Raymond Deary as special master. Cannon later denied the Justice Department’s request to partially lift its order regarding documents with secret, secret or top secret classified identities.

Cannon said he could not accept that the documents were indeed classified without Deary’s review.

The Justice Department appealed to the Atlanta-based 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals, which stayed Cannon’s decisions on classified documents, a move that prevented Deary from examining them while allowing the government to resume its investigation. The 11th Circuit noted the importance of limiting access to classified information and ensuring that the department’s investigation is not compromised.

The 11th Circuit rejected any suggestion that Trump had classified the documents — as the former president said — saying there was “no evidence” of such action and the argument was a “red herring” because declassifying an official document does not change its content. Or make it private.”

The three statutes underlying the search warrant used by the FBI at Mar-a-Lago make it a crime to tamper with government records regardless of their classification status.

The department’s investigation seeks to determine who had access to the classified materials, whether they were compromised and whether any accounts were unaccounted for.

Trump’s lawyers have previously argued in the Supreme Court that Dearie could review the records and that the Justice Department has “attempted to criminalize a document management controversy, now vehemently opposing a transparent process that provides much-needed oversight.”

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Reporting by Andrew Chung in New York; Editing by Will Dunham

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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