The Justice Department said in a late Tuesday court filing that it is having a hard time finding secure document storage companies willing to get involved in the legal fight over former President Donald Trump storing sensitive materials at his Mar-a-Lago residence.
In a filing just before midnight, the Justice Department said it needs more time to find a company to secure and digitize the tens of thousands of documents seized from Mr. Trump’s residence because none of the companies are willing to work with the former president’s legal team.
“Plaintiff informed us this morning that none of the five document-review vendors proposed by the government before last Tuesday’s preliminary conference were willing to be engaged by the plaintiff,” the department said in the filing.
This is the second time the Justice Department has asked for a delay while it tries to find a digitization company willing to get involved in the case. On Friday, the government asked for an extension until the end of Tuesday to find a vendor. Now it is asking for another day to complete the job.
“The government is highly confident at least one vendor will respond and that we will be able to ‘agree upon and contract’ with a document review vendor that will host the seized materials in electronic form,” the Justice Department’s lawyers wrote.
The Justice Department also said Mr. Trump should pay for the process of finding a vendor and signing a contract.
The delay in inking a vendor has held up a review of the roughly 11,000 documents seized by U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie, who is serving as special master in the legal fight.
Judge Dearie was expected to be reviewing the documents around Oct. 1, but the difficulty in finding a vendor means he likely wouldn’t start the process until a week later, Oct. 7, according to the filing.
The special master is tasked with deciding if any of the documents removed from Mr. Trump’s residence are protected by attorney-client or executive privilege, which would make the materials off limits to investigators probing whether the former president illegally mishandled government documents.