A US judge reviewing records seized from Donald Trump’s Florida home on Thursday asked the former president’s lawyers to provide any evidence that casts doubt on the integrity of the documents. Trump has previously made baseless claims that the documents were planted by FBI agents.
Senior federal judge Raymond Dearie, who was appointed by another judge to review the documents to assess whether some should be withheld from investigators as privileged, also asked the Justice Department to confirm by Monday a detailed inventory of the materials seized by the FBI in the court-approved Aug. 8 search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach, Florida.
Dearie asked Trump’s lawyers to provide by September 30 a list of specific items in that inventory “that the prosecutor claims were not seized from the premises.” Dearie also asked them to submit any corrections to the government inventory by that date, including items they believe were seized at Mar-a-Lago but not listed in the inventory.
“This submission will be [Trump’s] the last opportunity to raise any factual dispute as to the completeness and accuracy of the itemized inventory,” wrote Dearie, serving as an independent arbitrator known as a special master.
The search was conducted as part of a federal criminal investigation into whether Trump illegally withheld White House documents and attempted to obstruct the investigation when he left office in January 2021 after a failed 2020 re-election bid.
Trump called the investigation politically motivated. He also claimed, without providing evidence, that he had declassified all documents found at Mar-a-Lago and that the FBI had planted the documents.
At Trump’s request, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon appointed Dearie to review the materials. The Justice Department said more than 11,000 documents were seized, including about 100 documents marked as confidential.
A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that the Justice Department can continue to review those classified records in its criminal investigation. The Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also prevented Dearie from inspecting those documents, which were marked confidential.