Donald Trump, a former US president, has requested a court to halt the federal department’s inquiry into documents taken from his Mar-a-Lago residence.
His legal team filed a complaint demanding the appointment of an impartial attorney to supervise the papers that FBI agents earlier this month had taken.
According to the FBI, 11 sets of confidential documents were stolen from Mr. Trump’s Florida residence on August 8.
Mr. Trump is under investigation for allegedly handling papers improperly.
The FBI is looking into whether Mr. Trump inappropriately handled records by transferring them from the White House to Mar-a-Lago after he left office in January 2021. US presidents are required to submit all of their papers and emails to a government organization called the National Archive.
He claims the materials were declassified and has denied any wrongdoing.
The legal team for Mr. Trump accuses the justice department of conducting the search as “simply wanting the camel’s nose under the tent so they could rummage for either politically helpful documents or support efforts to thwart President Trump from running again” in the 27-page document submitted to a Florida court.
Should he decide to run, it states that “President Donald J. Trump is the obvious frontrunner in the 2024 Republican Presidential Primary and in the 2024 General Election.”
It continues, “Law enforcement is a shield that protects Americans. It cannot be used as a tool for political ends.
About two dozen FBI agents made the “shockingly forceful approach” on Mar-a-Lago “without knowing the grief that it would cause most Americans,” according to Mr. Trump’s attorneys.
Prosecutors were aware of Mr. Trump’s complaint, according to a short statement from the Department of Justice (DoJ), and they will react in court. According to spokesperson Anthony Coley, the “search warrant at Mar-a-Lago was authorized by a federal court upon the necessary finding of reasonable cause.”
This information comes as the New York Times reported on Monday that investigators have so far retrieved from Mr. Trump over 300 papers marked with a secret classification, including records from the CIA, the National Security Agency, and the FBI.
On Monday, Mr. Trump filed a lawsuit in Florida’s West Palm Beach before a judge he has selected to serve on the court in 2020.
Mr. Trump is suing the government to return any items that were not included by the search order and is requesting a more thorough account of everything that was seized from his properties.
His attorneys have also requested that a “neutral” special master be appointed to assess whether the confiscated documents fall under the president’s right to executive privilege, which shields certain conversations from public view.
Ordinarily, special masters are appointed in criminal proceedings if there are suspicions that certain evidence may be shielded by the attorney-client privilege or by other legal provisions that would prevent its admission into evidence.
According to the court document, Mr. Trump was cooperating with investigators prior to the FBI showing up at his residence without warning.
The search, according to his attorneys, violated the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution, which protects citizens against arbitrary search and seizure.
Additionally, the government is charged of leaking “ever-changing, and incorrect, ‘justifications'” for the search to preferred media sources, according to his legal team.
Three days after the search, according to Mr. Trump’s legal team, they got in touch with an FBI agent who had been to Mar-a-Lago in June and asked him for assistance in passing along a private message from the previous president to Attorney General Merrick Garland.
In the short statement included in Monday’s complaint, Mr. Trump claimed to have learned “about the raid from individuals throughout the nation.”
Mr. Trump’s letter continued, “If there was one word to characterize their emotions, it is ‘furious’.”
“The temperature is rising. Pressure is increasing. Please let us know if there is anything I can do to reduce the pressure or the heat.”
The affidavit, the sworn evidence used to support the FBI search, is still up for consideration by the judge who issued the warrant for the extraordinary criminal inquiry into a former US president’s residence.
Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart said on Monday that the government’s proposed redactions to the affidavit were so broad as to render it “meaningless” if published, but he added that given the public interest in the case, he still thought it should not be totally sealed.
Prior to leaving office in January 2021, Mr. Trump said he had done nothing illegal and that all of the materials he took with him had already been released.