Efforts by Donald Trump A delay in the former US president’s criminal investigation into illegal possession of government secrets was largely thwarted after the Justice Department regained access to about 100 documents with classified identities seized by the FBI from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
This week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit set aside key parts of a federal judge’s order that barred the department from using the documents in its investigation, and ruled that Trump’s lawyers are not required to review documents related to potential concessions.
The 29-page decision came as a scathing rebuke of rulings by U.S. District Court Judge Eileen Cannon, who is overseeing the case in Florida, but ended Trump’s bid to slow the investigation. faster.
The Justice Department is investigating possible violations of at least three criminal statutes, including the Espionage Act, according to the search warrant affidavit. Relating to national security informationObstruction of justice and destruction of government documents are common.
Allowed to examine about 100 documents marked classified, Justice Department investigators can now resume investigations into the intentional retention and disruption of national security information — with primary evidence.
An appeals court ruled that Trump’s lawyers and special security officials were not required to review 100 documents.
Trump’s target demand is A Special Master According to sources familiar with the matter, it was divisive from the beginning, and the primary — though not publicly stated — goal was to use the brakes on a criminal investigation after an FBI search. Mar-a-Lago Trump’s lawyers were surprised.
A second major objective was to use the special master motion as a vehicle to gain more insight into what documents the FBI recovered from the property, as Trump was initially in the dark about the extent and their own. , potential expression.
Before the appeals court decision, Trump’s legal team considered the special master, a senior U.S. District Court judge Raymond DearyA president, current or former, may need time to evaluate whether he can use executive privilege to prevent executive branch access to materials.
The former president’s attorneys suggested in court filings that if Trump had written handwritten notes on classified or non-privileged documents with his advisers and lawyers, there might have been more time-consuming discussions about the privilege.
Although Trump could still drag out a third order of special primaries related to the public declassification of more than 11,000 other documents seized by the FBI, expected delays on classified documents are no longer at issue.
Trump effectively secured a two-and-a-half-week pause in the criminal investigation, ordering the Cannon department on Labor Day pending an appeals court ruling on Wednesday — a delay that former U.S. attorneys said would not greatly affect the case. .
In criminal trials that rely on eyewitness testimony, extended delays can become problematic if the department is unable to move forward for more than two months as memories fade and witnesses struggle to recall specific details.
Former U.S. attorneys said the Justice Department’s barring from using 100 classified documents, the most important source of possible violations of the Espionage Act and the embargo, will be little more than an inconvenience for about three weeks.
However, the temporary delay showed the ambition and capacity of the Trump legal team Take small practical victories They believe that overall will become significant. Without defeat before the 11th Circuit, Trump may have hoped to block the criminal investigation into December and beyond.