Donald Trump’s attorneys have asked a federal judge to prevent the FBI from continuing to examine documents recovered from his Florida estate until a neutral special master is appointed to inspect the documents.
The request was placed in a court file, the first of the former US president’s legal team in the two weeks following the search, which aims largely at the FBI’s investigation into the discovery of confidential documents in Mar-a-Lago.
The filing calls the August 8 search, in which the FBI claimed to have recovered 11 sets of confidential documents, as an “incredibly aggressive move” and describes Mr. Trump and its representatives collaborated for months.
“Law enforcement is a shield that protects America. It cannot be used as a weapon for political purposes,” the lawyers wrote Monday.
Explanator: why the FBI raided Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate and what they are investigating
“Therefore, we seek legal assistance in the aftermath of an unprecedented and unnecessary raid in Mar-a-Lago.”
Filing specifically requires the appointment of a special commander not related to the case to review the recovered records and set aside those covered by executive privilege, a principle that allows presidents to withhold certain communications from public disclosure.
“This matter has caught the attention of the American public. Simply ‘adequate’ guarantees are not acceptable when the matter in question concerns not only President Trump’s constitutional rights, but also the presumption of executive privilege,” the lawyers wrote.
Separately on Monday, a federal judge acknowledged that the reductions of an FBI affidavit explaining the foundations of the research could be so extensive as to render the document “meaningless” if released to the public.
But US magistrate judge Bruce Reinhart said he continued to believe it should not remain sealed in its entirety due to “intense” public interest in the investigation.
Department of Justice officials want to keep the entire document sealed, saying that disclosure of any part of it risks compromising an ongoing criminal investigation, revealing information about witnesses and divulging investigative techniques.
Follow the daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker