Donald Trump filed a lawsuit against the US government on Monday regarding the FBI’s search of his Mar-a-Lago residence, requesting a temporary halt to the reading of materials collected until a particular court official may be assigned to examine the relevant records.
The suit claims that the court should appoint a special master – typically a retired lawyer or judge – because the FBI potentially seized privileged materials in its search. The Department of Justice (DoJ) should not be allowed to decide what it can use in its investigation, the Guardian reported on Saturday, citing Trump’s lead attorney, Jim Trusty, and two sources familiar with the situation.
It also “requires the government to produce a more thorough receipt for the property; and… requires the government to return any material confiscated that was not within the scope of the search warrant,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed in the US district court for the southern district of Florida.
The National Archives and DoJ think that material from Trump’s presidency was improperly removed from the White House after he left office, so they mounted the Mar-a-Lago search on August 8 to look for it.
According to reports, the search was conducted under the Espionage Act, and part of the information sought related to nuclear weapons.
The search has widely been regarded to have considerably increased Trump’s legal risk, which ranges from inquiries into his New York business dealings to investigations into his attempts to manipulate election results.
Trump refused to concede Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election, blaming massive electoral fraud—a fabrication that fueled his followers’ murderous attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Trump’s hold on the Republican party is still strong despite several open hearings held by a House committee looking into the assault on Congress and Trump’s interference in the election.
The former president used the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago to accuse the Biden administration of mistreating him, a position supported by congressional Republicans and most of the party’s supporters.
According to the lawsuit filed on Monday, the search was “an incredibly forceful move”, and the officers “had no appreciation for the discomfort that it would cause most Americans.” It presented a skewed account of how the search proceeded and accused the DoJ of acting unfairly.
Earlier on Monday, a federal judge said he had not yet determined whether releasing a redacted version would be beneficial when considering a request by media outlets to have the search warrant unsealed.
“I cannot say at this moment that partial redactions will be so broad as to result in a meaningless disclosure, but I may ultimately reach that view after hearing further from the government,” the judge, Bruce Reinhart, wrote in his ruling.
In opposition to the warrant’s release, the DoJ cites an ongoing investigation.
Trump’s lawsuit, filed on Monday, also aimed to bring attention to his persistent hints that he will soon make a second presidential run.
“Politics cannot be allowed to impact the administration of justice,” it stated. “President Donald J Trump is the clear frontrunner in 2024 Republican presidential primary and the 2024 general election, should he decide to run.”
“Beyond that, his endorsement in the 2022 midterm elections has been decisive for Republican candidates.”
The suit also says: “Law enforcement is a shield that protects Americans. It cannot be used as a weapon for political purposes.”