WASHINGTON — Strongly rejecting Donald Trump’s legal arguments, a federal appeals court on Wednesday allowed the Justice Department to re-use classified records seized from the former president’s Florida estate as part of its ongoing criminal investigation. Allowed.

The decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit is a major victory for the Justice Department, clearing the way for investigators to continue examining the documents as they seek Consider whether to lay criminal charges for hoarding. Top Secret Records at Mar-a-Lago After Trump Leaves the White House By holding up a fundamental aspect of the department’s investigation, the court removed a hurdle that could have delayed the investigation by weeks, if not months.


The appeals court also pointedly noted that Trump had presented no evidence that he had declassified sensitive records, as it has repeatedly observed, and rejected the possibility that Trump’s classification About 100 documents with symbols may have “individual interest or need”. which were seized by the FBI on August 8 during a search of a Palm Beach property.

The government had argued that its investigation was hampered, and national security concerns were overruled, by US District Judge Ellen Cannon’s order barring investigators from continuing to use the documents in its inquiry. Temporarily stopped. Cannon, a Trump appointee, said the freeze would remain in place pending a separate review by an independent arbitrator at the Trump team’s request to review the records.


The appeals panel agreed with the Justice Department’s concerns.

“It is self-evident that the public has a strong interest in ensuring that the storage of classified records does not result in unusually serious harm to national security,” he wrote. “Detection essentially involves reviewing documents, determining who had access to them and when, and determining by what means or methods they were compromised,” he added. “


An injunction that delays or prevents a criminal investigation “prevents threats of real and significant harm to the United States and the public from the use of classified material,” he wrote.

Two of the three judges who issued Wednesday’s ruling – Bert Grant and Andrew Brasher – were nominated by Trump to the Eleventh Circuit. Judge Robin Rosenbaum was nominated by former President Barack Obama.


Trump’s lawyers did not return an email seeking comment on whether he would appeal the ruling. The Justice Department had no immediate comment.

The FBI seized about 11,000 documents during a court-authorized search of the Palm Beach Club last month, including about 100 with classified markings. It has opened a criminal investigation into whether the records were improperly used or compromised, though it is unclear whether Trump or anyone else will be charged.

Cannon ruled on Sept. 5 that it would name an independent arbitrator, or special master, to independently review those records and set aside anything covered by claims of attorney-client privilege or executive privilege. and to determine whether any of these materials should be returned to Trump. Raymond Derry, the former chief judge of the Brooklyn-based federal court, has been nominated for the role and held his first meeting with lawyers on both sides on Tuesday.

The Justice Department had argued that a special master review of classified documents was not necessary. It said Trump had no reasonable basis to request executive privilege over the documents, and that the records could not be covered by attorney-client privilege because they include communications between Trump and his attorneys. do not have.

He also contested Cannon’s order requiring him to provide Derry and Trump’s lawyers with access to classified material. The court sided with the Justice Department on Wednesday, saying “courts should only order review of such material in the most exceptional circumstances. The record does not permit a conclusion that this is such a situation.”

Trump’s lawyers had argued that an independent review of the records was necessary given the unprecedented nature of the investigation. Lawyers have also said the department has yet to prove the seized documents were classified, though they have stopped short of specifically claiming — as Trump has repeatedly said — that the records were classified. was already declassified.

Trump’s team this week resisted providing Derry with any information to support the idea that the records may have been declassified, indicating that the issue would be a defense if he is indicted. can be part of

But the Court of Appeal seemed to scoff at this argument.

” suggests the plaintiff. He may have disclosed these documents while he was president. But there is no evidence in the record that any of those records were declassified,” he wrote. “In any event, at least for these purposes, the declassification argument is a red herring. Because declassifying an official document will not change its content or make it private.”

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