PC: The Hans India
As part of the special master process mandated by a federal judge last month, counsel for former president Donald Trump made it known on Monday that they are opposed to having to immediately disclose information concerning declassification connected to the Mar-a-Lago records.
Trump’s attorneys referred to a confidential draught plan for the review that US District Judge Raymond Dearie distributed among the parties ahead of a status conference scheduled for Tuesday in a letter to Dearie, who was chosen to act as an impartial third party to review the documents the FBI seized during a search of the former President’s home and resort.
The proposed approach “requires that the Plaintiff reveal specific information on declassification to the Court and to the Government,” Trump wrote in his letter.
The letter made reference to a particular type of motion that can be filed calling for the return of property that was illegally seized in a search and said, “We respectfully submit that the time and place for affidavits or declarations would be in connection with a Rule 41 motion that specifically alleges declassification as a component of its argument for return of property.”
The letter from the Trump campaign’s legal team stated, “Otherwise, the Special Master process will have obliged the Plaintiff to fully and expressly disclose a response to the merits of any later indictment without such a requirement being clear in the District Court’s order.”
Judge Aileen Cannon mandated that the special master review, carried out by Dearie and covering roughly 11,000 documents, be completed by the end of November in her decision last week refusing the prosecution’s request for a delay. Tuesday at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, New York, is the day for the preliminary conference in the case of Dearie.
The lawyers for the former President also expressed concerns in their submission with the draught plan’s apparent suggestion to have the Rule 41 motions heard by US Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who authorised the warrant for the FBI’s search, in the docket. The special master was appointed by Cannon, a Trump appointment, and the Trump legal team claimed that Cannon intended for the action to proceed through the special master process, with Dearie ultimately reporting to her with recommendations.
In their letter to Dearie, Trump’s attorneys also recommended delaying some of the interim deadlines outlined in the proposed strategy.
The timing of any declassification disclosures and the briefing regarding reversion to the issuing magistrate are two aspects of the Draft Plan that raise questions for us, but other than that, we generally concur with Your Honor’s proposed sequencing and advise addressing any deadlines at tomorrow’s status conference, according to the Trump legal team.
The Justice Department suggested a procedure for the special master to analyse the records seized from Trump’s Palm Beach home and resort in a separate filing on Monday.
Prosecutors proposed in the brief that the records be uploaded to a third-party web platform so that the Trump team and prosecutors could assess the evidence concurrently.
The third-party vendor should “batch out” documents as they are scanned to both the prosecution and Trump’s defence team, according to a suggestion from the Justice Department. Every business day, the lawyers should prepare to go through around 500 records, according to DOJ.
Prosecutors recommended that Dearie hold “monthly reviews” with both parties as the review got underway to “resolve issues and guarantee seamless operation of the review process.”
Additionally, the agency announced that it will ask Cannon to approve a protective order that would make disclosing information about the seized collection subject to court contempt “or any other lawfully authorised consequence that the Court considers appropriate.”
The DOJ stated in its petition that Dearie would not be allowed to review the more than 100 classified papers if the 11th Circuit US Court of Appeals grants its motion to quash certain portions of Cannon’s order requiring a special master.
The government will offer a solution if the Eleventh Circuit does not halt the study of the documents with classified markings, according to prosecutors in the brief.