Former President Donald Trump on Monday asked a federal court to temporarily block the FBI from reviewing the materials it seized from his Florida home two weeks ago until a special master can be appointed to oversee the bureau's review.
Trump's court motion, filed in a federal court in West Palm Beach, Florida, also demanded the U.S. Justice Department provide him with a more-detailed property receipt outlining the items the FBI seized from his Mar-a-Lago home during its Aug. 8 search, and asked investigators to return any items that were not within the scope of the search warrant.
The court filing reads:
"President Donald J. Trump, through his undersigned counsel, respectfully files this Motion For Judicial Oversight And Additional Relief, which seeks an order that: (a) appoints a Special Master; (b) enjoins further review of seized materials by the Government until a Special Master is appointed; (c) requires the Government to provide a more detailed Receipt for Property; and (d) requires the Government to return any item seized that was not within the scope of the Search Warrant, and states as follows:
"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 filing also noted Trump has been successful in endorsing candidates in these midterm elections.
"Law enforcement is a shield that protects Americans," the filing continued."It cannot be used as a weapon for political purposes. 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."
In a Save American PAC statement after the filing, Trump denounced the raid and said he was "strongly asserting my rights, including under the Fourth Amendment of our Constitution, regarding the unnecessary, unwarranted, and un-American break-in by dozens of FBI agents."
Trump also blasted Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart, who signed off on the Justice Department affidavit for the FBI to raid Mar-a-Lago earlier this month.
"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," Trump's statement added.
"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."
The attorneys' motion said Trump's constitutional rights and "executive privilege" were violated.
"This matter has captured the attention of the American public," the motion read. "Merely 'adequate' safeguards are not acceptable when the matter at hand involves not only the constitutional rights of President Trump, but also the presumption of executive privilege,” the attorneys wrote.
In response to Trump's motion, Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said the government "will file its response in court."
Separately Monday, a federal judge acknowledged that redactions to an FBI affidavit spelling out the basis for the search might be so extensive as to make the document "meaningless" if released to the public. But he said he continued to believe it should not remain sealed in its entirety because of the "intense" public interest in the investigation.
A written order from Reinhart largely restates what he said in court last week, when he directed the Justice Department to propose redactions about the information in the affidavit that it wants to remain secret. That submission is due Thursday at noon.
Justice Department officials have sought to keep the entire document sealed, saying disclosing any portion of it risks compromising an ongoing criminal investigation, revealing information about witnesses and divulging investigative techniques. They have advised the judge that the necessary redactions to the affidavit would be so numerous that they would strip the document of any substantive information and make it effectively meaningless for the public.
Reinhart acknowledged that possibility in his Monday order, writing, "I cannot say at this point that partial redactions will be so extensive that they will result in a meaningless disclosure, but I may ultimately reach that conclusion after hearing further from the government."
Several news organizations, including The Associated Press, have urged the judge to unseal additional records tied to this month's search of Mar-A-Lago, when FBI officials said they recovered 11 sets of classified documents, including top secret records, from the Florida estate.
Of particular interest is the affidavit supporting the search, which presumably contains key details about the Justice Department's investigation examining whether Trump retained and mishandled classified and sensitive government records. Trump and some of his supporters have also called for the document to be released, hoping it will expose what they contend was government overreach.
In his written ruling, Reinhart said the Justice Department had a compelling interest in preventing the affidavit from being released in its entirety. But he said he did not believe it should remain fully sealed, and said he was not persuaded by the department's arguments that the redaction process “imposes an undue burden on its resources."
"Particularly given the intense public and historical interest in an unprecedented search of a former president's residence, the government has not yet shown that these administrative concerns are sufficient to justify sealing," he wrote.
Information from Reuters and The Associated Press was used in this report.
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