Lawyers for former President Donald Trump urged a federal appeals court to reject the Justice Department's request for a partial stay of a ruling that effectively has paused the government's probe into the alleged mishandling of classified documents.
The DOJ filed a motion Friday with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for a partial stay of U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon's order requiring a special master to review items with classification markings seized at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida last month.
Trump’s attorneys, in a Tuesday filing, asked the court to uphold Cannon's Thursday order denying the government's original motion for partial stay, which would leave in place the injunction preventing the government from reviewing and using the documents marked as classified in its ongoing criminal investigation.
The lawyers say the DOJ's investigation into Trump is "both unprecedented and misguided" and merely "a document storage dispute that has spiraled out of control," ABC News reported.
"The District Court did not err in temporarily enjoining the Government's review and use of records bearing classification markings for criminal investigative purposes because the merits support that narrowly tailored injunction," Trump's lawyers argue in the new filing.
Cannon, appointed by Trump in 2020, on Sept. 5 authorized the appointment of a special master (arbiter) to review personal items, documents, and materials subject to claims of attorney-client privilege.
Three days later, the DOJ appealed the judge’s decision to name a special master claiming it harmed national security.
On Thursday, Cannon selected one of Trump's special master nominees, but ruled that the former president Trump will pay associated costs.
The judge also detailed the steps the DOJ can take to further its investigation while the documents remain sequestered, including "questioning witnesses and obtaining other information about the movement and storage of seized materials, including documents marked as classified, without discussion of their contents."
Also Tuesday, attorneys for Trump opposed a move by special master Raymond Dearie to immediately share declassification details of the documents seized by the FBI.
Axios said a letter by the Trump legal team to Dearie noted a draft plan they say "requires that the Plaintiff disclose specific information regarding declassification to the court and to the government."
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