March 1, 2024

Attorneys for former President Donald Trump have filed an updated motion regarding the FBI’s confiscation of government documents from his Mar-a-Lago estate after a judge ordered them to restructure it.

The 12-page motionfiled in a federal court in Florida on Friday night, asks for the appointment of a neutral “Special Master” to review the documents taken from Trump’s resort earlier this month to determine if any may be protected by executive privilege.

The filing was characterized as “supplemental” to an initial motion presented earlier this week. It was newly filed on the same day that another court released the affidavit supporting the FBI’s Aug. 8 searches.

Friday night’s motion does not mention the hundreds of pages of classified documents secreted during the search and other visits by investigators, Politico notes.

It also fails to mention Trump’s insistence that he declassified all the material before it was taken from the White House — a claim that he and ally Kash Patel, the former chief of staff to Trump’s acting defense secretary, have made repeatedly.

The motion cites a 1991 court decision concerning electronic communication, which determined that neither Congress nor the National Archives can “veto” a sitting president’s “disposal decision” regarding official records.

The judgment doesn’t, however, address issues concerning former presidents, nor does it say anything about certain legal violations around stashing White House records without the proper authority, Politico pointed out.

Trump-appointed Judge Aileen Cannon on Tuesday criticized the original motion for failing to answer several of her questions and gave attorneys until Friday to answer them. She even supplied a link to a “sample motion” that they could consult.

The boxes that FBI agents took from Mar-a-Lago this month included 11 packets of classified material, some of it top secret. Under the Presidential Records Act of 1978, such documents must be turned over to the National Archives when a president leaves office.

Several legal experts appeared unimpressed with the updated motion.

In a tweet, appellate attorney Ted Boutrous called it “Very weak.”

“The crux of this motion—a request for a special master to keep materials subject to executive privilege away from the Executive Branch—remains nonsensical,” tweeted former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti. “And even if this motion is granted, it doesn’t move the ball forward for Trump.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.


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