Trump-appointed judge blocks FBI from using evidence seized at Mar-a-Lago

A Florida federal judge appointed to the bench by Donald Trump has barred the Justice Department from using the thousands of government documents seized in the Aug. 8 search of his property to further an ongoing criminal investigation into the ex-president.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon’s Monday order restrains — temporarily — the federal government’s law enforcement apparatus from acting, which most legal experts say is damning evidence that Mr. Trump has violated multiple federal laws that provide criminal penalties for mishandling national defense information and obstructing justice.

The government will not be able to use any evidence seized at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence until a third-party special master determines whether each item seized can be protected by solicitor-client or public privilege. executive, even though Mr. Trump is no longer president. and cannot protect executive branch folders. The process of appointing the special master and reviewing the documents could take weeks or months, giving Mr Trump a reprieve from the gravest legal danger he has ever faced.

Despite legal experts and the government saying a special master was not warranted after Mr Trump requested one two weeks after his home was raided, Judge Cannon said she was granting his request in part because of the “undeniably unprecedented nature of the raid of a residence of the former president”, “the importance of maintaining institutional trust” in the judicial system, and what she described as “the interest in ensuring the integrity of an orderly process amid swirling allegations of bias and media leaks”.

Justice Cannon justified the decision by citing Mr. Trump’s claim that he would suffer irreparable harm from “the threat of future lawsuits and the severe, often indelible stigma associated with it.”

“Based on the plaintiff’s former position as President of the United States, the stigma associated with the seizure in question is in a category of its own. A future indictment, based in any degree on property that should be returned, would result in reputational damage of a decidedly different order of magnitude,” she wrote.

Although his order bars the criminal investigation into the ex-president from moving forward, it allowed intelligence community officials to continue an ongoing review to determine whether Mr. Trump’s hoarding of Sensitive national defense information at his Palm Beach club endangered national security.

The Independent previously reported that Mr. Trump’s possession of classified documents relating to human intelligence sources and signals intelligence collection will compel the U.S. intelligence community to shut down long-running operations and extract human sources from environments hostile, because officials will have to assume that whatever Mr. Trump has hoarded will have already been seen by hostile actors.

Although the Justice Department can appeal its decision, while it is in place, it will prevent the former president from being charged with any crime based on evidence found during the search of his home.

Legal experts were quick to condemn the decision as having little basis in fact or case law.

Steve Vladeck, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law who specializes in the federal justice system, called the Trump-appointed judge’s ruling “absurd,” particularly the section where he bars the government from using the documents. which he has already seized from Mr. Trump.

So much for the hope that Judge Cannon will bend over backwards to appear to accommodate Trump. It turns the law into a pretzel in a way so unsupported by precedent that it is unlikely to be followed in future cases,” he wrote, adding that it was “only a sad day for the courts”.

Ted Boutros, a seasoned attorney and partner at Gibson, Dunn, said the judge’s order was “riddled with fundamental legal errors” and called it “contrary to judicial restraint.”

Another veteran of federal court practice, former Wachtell Lipton partner George Conway, also took to Twitter to call the judge’s decision “absolutely insane.”

The Florida judge’s order came just two days after the man who nominated her to the federal bench claimed the Justice Department was investigating whether he had endangered the nation that he once led by accumulating secret documents stolen from the Department of Justice and the FBI at a political rally. in Wikes Barre, Pennsylvania.

Mr Trump condemned the lawful search of his property as ‘shameful’ and ‘a travesty of justice’, and accused the FBI of ‘trying to destroy our country’ on behalf of Democrats by investigating whether he had committed a number of serious federal crimes.

“Whether through militant attorneys general … local Democratic prosecutors, county prosecutors, congressional committees, or federal agencies, radical Democrats are in a desperate attempt to keep me from returning to the White House. Mr. Trump said, casting the inquiries into whether he violated federal laws designed to protect the nation’s national defense secrets or state laws against election tampering as illegitimate and overtly political.

According to court documents, FBI agents found more than 10,000 unclassified government documents spread across 27 boxes when they searched the twice-impeached ex-president’s home and office at his Mar-a country club. -The girlfriend.

Officers also uncovered more than 100 “unique documents with classification marks”, including three stored in Mr Trump’s office. Classification levels ranged from confidential – the lowest classification level in the US system – to the highest, top secret.

Trump-appointed judge blocks FBI from using evidence seized at Mar-a-Lago

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.