A court filing submitted by former President Donald Trump’s lawyers said the Department of Justice (DOJ) never contacted his lawyers after FBI agents took documents during last month’s raid on his Mar-a-Lago.
“Never has an argument against ‘interference’ better underscored the need for judicial involvement,” the filing, submitted Wednesday, said. “All of this in the context of a unilateral filter team operation that to-date has never made any contact with counsel for the Movant, another historic first for DOJ.
“Left unchecked, the DOJ will impugn, leak, and publicize selective aspects of their investigation with no recourse for Movant but to somehow trust the self-restraint of currently unchecked investigators,” his lawyers further argued (pdf).
That filing came about a day after the DOJ asserted in court that a special master—or a neutral third-party—isn’t needed for the review of allegedly classified materials that were taken from Trump’s residence. The DOJ filter team, prosecutors said, already carried out a preliminary evaluation of the documents.
“The government’s investigative team has already reviewed all of the remaining materials, including any that are potentially subject to claims of executive privilege,” the DOJ wrote.
Arguing against appointing the special master, the government added said it would impede its “ongoing criminal investigation and—if the special master were tasked with reviewing classified documents—would impede the Intelligence Community from conducting its ongoing review of the national security risk that improper storage of these highly sensitive materials may have caused and from identifying measures to rectify or mitigate any damage that improper storage caused.”
In that same filing, the DOJ included a photo of the allegedly classified documents—some of which appeared to be marked “TOP SECRET”—that were scattered on the floor of a Mar-a-Lago room.
On social media, Trump suggested that the picture appears to be staged and accused the FBI and DOJ of deception.
“There seems to be confusion as to the ‘picture’ where documents were sloppily thrown on the floor and then released photographically for the world to see, as if that’s what the FBI found when they broke into my home,” the former president wrote on Truth Social. “Wrong! They took them out of cartons and spread them around on the carpet, making it look like a big ‘find’ for them.”
Trump further asserted that his lawyers were denied access to view what the FBI agents were doing.
“They dropped them, not me – Very deceiving…And remember, we could have NO representative, including lawyers, present during the Raid. They were told to wait outside,” he added Wednesday.