Former President Trump and his legal team filed a motion Monday evening seeking an independent review of the records seized by the FBI during its “unprecedented” and “unnecessary” raid of Mar-a-Lago earlier this month, saying the decision to search his private residence just months before the 2022 midterm elections “involved political calculations aimed at diminishing the leading voice in the Republican Party, President Trump.”
According to the motion filed Monday evening in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Trump and his legal team are seeking an order to appoint a special master to review the records obtained during the search; blocks the further review of seized materials by the government until a special master is appointed; requires the Justice Department to provide a more detailed receipt for property and requires the government to return any item seized that was not within the scope of the search warrant.
Trump said Monday evening the motion is “strongly asserting” his rights, “including under the Fourth Amendment of our Constitution, regarding the unnecessary, unwarranted, and unAmerican Break-In by dozens of FBI agents, and others, of my home, Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Florida.”
“They demanded that the security cameras be turned off, a request we rightfully denied. They prevented my attorneys from observing what was being taken in the raid, saying ‘absolutely not,’” Trump said in a statement. “They took documents covered by attorney-client and executive privilege, which is not allowed. They took my passports. They even brought a ‘safe cracker’ and successfully broke into my personal safe, which revealed…nothing!”
Trump said he is “now demanding that the Department of ‘Justice’ be instructed to immediately STOP the review of documents illegally seized from my home.”
“ALL documents have been previously declassified,” Trump said. “We are demanding the appointment of a SPECIAL MASTER to oversee the handling of the materials taken in the raid. We are further demanding that the DOJ be forced to turn over a REAL, without ‘plants,’ inventory of my property that was taken and disclose where that property is now located.”
Trump added that he and his legal team are “demanding that all items wrongfully taken from my home be IMMEDIATELY returned.”
“The wrongful, overbroad warrant was signed by a Magistrate Judge who recused himself just two months ago, from a MAJOR civil suit that I filed, because of his bias and animus toward me,” he said. “This Mar-a-Lago Break-In, Search, and Seizure was illegal and unconstitutional, and we are taking all actions necessary to get the documents back, which we would have given to them without the necessity of the despicable raid of my home, so that I can give them to the National Archives until they are required for the future Donald J. Trump Presidential Library and Museum.”
He added: “I will never stop fighting for the American people, our Country, and the Rule of Law. Make America Great Again!”
Trump and his legal team, in the motion filed Monday evening, stress that “politics cannot be allowed to impact the administration of justice.”
“President Donald J. Trump is the clear frontrunner in the 2024 Republican Presidential Primary and in the 2024 General Election, should he decide to run,” the motion states. “Beyond that, his endorsement in the 2022 mid-term elections has been decisive for Republican candidates.”
Trump and his lawyers called the FBI’s raid of Mar-a-Lago a “shockingly aggressive move,” saying the FBI searched the premises “with no understanding of the distress that it would cause most Americans.”
“According to the Government, the agents seized documents, privileged and/or potentially privileged materials, and other items—including photos, handwritten notes, and even President Trump’s passports—that were outside the lawful reach of an already over broad warrant,” the lawyers wrote, saying the raid was a “violation of his constitutional rights,” and demanded the records “be returned forthwith.”
“Law enforcement is a shield that protects Americans. It cannot be used as a weapon for political purposes,” the motion continues. “Therefore, we seek judicial assistance in the aftermath of an unprecedented and unnecessary raid on President Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.”
Trump’s lawyers, in the motion, stated that the Justice Department “has informed counsel for President Trump that privileged and/or potentially privileged documents were among the items taken from his home.” Fox News first reported that agents seized privileged material last week.
“But the government has refused to provide any information regarding the nature of these documents,” the motion states, stressing that “protecting the integrity of these documents is important not only to” Trump, “but also to the institution of the Presidency.”
“Significantly, the Government has refused to provide President Trump with any reason for the unprecedented, general search of his home,” the motion states. “To date, the Government has failed to legitimize its historic decision to raid the home of a President who had been fully cooperative.”
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