- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Attorneys for former President Trump on Tuesday asked a federal judge to order the Justice Department to hand over an unredacted version of an affidavit used to justify the August search of his Mar-a-Lago estate.

In a legal filing made moments before Mr. Trump‘s lawyers were set to argue the case in a different court, his legal team said they needed to check the affidavit for accuracy and “misleading omissions.”

“The supposedly ‘detailed’ inventory provided little in the way of actual information or detail. Instead, the ‘detailed’ inventory incorrectly labeled nearly every document seized as a ‘U.S. Government Document,’” Mr. Trump‘s attorneys wrote.

A U.S. Magistrate in August publicly released a partially redacted version of the affidavit.

Mr. Trump‘s lawyers also argued that there are “substantial” differences between the affidavit the Justice Department provided the former president and the one they handed over to the special master. The special master is reviewing the documents seized in the FBI raid to see if any are protected by attorney-client privilege or executive privilege and, thus, should be off-limits to federal investigators.

The 13-page legal filing said the government took a “huge volume of personal and family photographs, newspapers, thank you notes campaign materials, books, and golf shirts.”

“This raises serious questions about how the affiant characterized his or her assertion of probable cause and the justification for seizing thousands of personal and private items,” Mr. Trump‘s lawyers wrote.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

In previous court filings, the Justice Department has said there is nothing unusual about the seizure of personal items during the execution of a criminal search warrant. It said that unrelated items found in boxes containing relevant documents can be helpful to investigators.

Mr. Trump‘s legal team filed the motion with U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who is overseeing the case. Judge Cannon was appointed by Mr. Trump.

It is unclear when Judge Cannon could issue a ruling in the case.

The filing came moments before other members of Mr. Trump‘s legal team argued before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta that the special master, Judge Raymond Dearie, must remain in his position reviewing the materials seized in the August raid of Mr. Trump‘s office and residence at his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida.

Justice Department lawyers have asked the court to terminate Judge Dearie’s tenure, arguing that the review is unnecessary and his work is holding up their investigation into whether Mr. Trump illegally mishandled government documents.

It also came days after Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to oversee the documents investigation as well as Mr. Trump‘s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. Mr. Trump has denied wrongdoing in both cases.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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