11th Circuit Court of Appeals allows federal prosecutors to resume review of documents seized from ex-president Donald TrumpThe Mar-a-Lago residence, which was marked classified, issued an opinion Wednesday that also prevented them from releasing documents to the newly appointed special director and Trump’s lawyers.
The ruling granted a partial stay motion filed by the U.S. Justice Department on Friday, with a three-judge panel concluding that “the public interest favors the stay” and agreeing with prosecutors, the U.S. District Judge Erin M. Cannon She was “probably wrong” when she blocked their use of classified records in criminal investigations and asked them to turn them over to special supervisors.
The opinion cited from Alan E. Kohler Jr., assistant director of the FBI’s counterintelligence division. “Determining this necessarily involves reviewing documents, determining who has access to them and when, and deciding which (if any) sources or methods are compromised.”
The panel also said Cannon’s decision to allow national intelligence officials to continue risk reviews of seized material while barring the Justice Department from further review of anything was based on an “undefensible” distinction.
Through Kohler’s statement, “the United States has fully explained how and why its national security review is inseparable from its criminal investigation,” the panel said, noting that when national security concerns arise, there is an obligation “to give substantive affidavits to agencies. Pay attention to”. involved.
“No party has advanced any speculation that undermined U.S. representation — supported by sworn testimony — that the results of the criminal investigation could be critical to its national security review,” the justices’ 29-page opinion said. Robin S. RosenbaumYear 2014 Barack Obama the appointee; Elizabeth “Britt” Cagle Granta 2018 Trump appointee; and Andrew L. Brashera 2020 Trump appointee.
The panel also dismissed Trump’s argument that he would be “severely” harmed by the suspension, writing that because he “has no possession of the disputed documents, if the United States reviewed his documents, he would not Recognizable harm. Neither owns nor owns personal interest.” The justices also cited a 1940 U.S. Supreme Court case, saying his argument that he would be harmed by a criminal investigation was “unconvincing” Cobblestone v United States“Even innocent people bear the unease and price of being prosecuted for a crime, which is one of the painful obligations of citizens.”
But they accepted the Justice Department’s argument that allowing the Special Master and Trump’s lawyers to review classified material would cause irreparable harm, citing a 1988 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Admiralty v. Egan “The protection of confidential information must be at the broad discretion of the responsible agency, and this must include broad discretion in determining who has access to it.”
“Therefore, courts should only order review of such material in the most exceptional circumstances,” the opinion said. “The record does not permit such a conclusion.”
On August 8, the FBI seized approximately 11,000 documents and 1,800 other items from Mar-a-Lago while executing a search warrant. Thirteen of those contained classified documents, “and three classified documents were found on the plaintiff’s desk,” according to Wednesday’s opinion.
“In all, the search uncovered more than one hundred documents marked classified, classified, or top secret,” the judge wrote. In recounting the history of the proceedings, the opinion noted that the district court, in granting Trump’s request for the special master, said, Trump “may be able to assert executive privilege” against the sitting president.
DOJ turns to 11th Circuit after 2020 Trump appointee Cannon in Southern District of Florida rejects prosecutor’s stay request and appoints top U.S. district judge Raymond J. Deeley as a special host. Dear, 1986 Ronald Reagan The appointee, one of two recommendations from Trump’s lawyers. On Tuesday, he held his first meeting on the case in Brooklyn federal court in the Eastern District of New York, where he had been working until inactive last month.
Prosecutors were backed by a group of state and federal officials in the 11th Circuit who filed an amicus brief saying Cannon did not invoke any authority to support her claim that Trump may have “an interest” in the material statement. Meanwhile, Trump’s team received a supportive amicus brief from a group of Republican attorneys general, saying the Biden administration’s “conduct in relation to this case and the gaming skills that have become hallmarks of its litigation policy” and other questionable behavior – production and public relations efforts.”
The 11th Circuit moved quickly, ordering Trump’s team on Saturday to respond to the Justice Department’s motion by noon Tuesday. Wednesday’s detailed opinion noted that Cannon’s order “does not address special master powers; it addresses district court orders as they require the United States to act and not act.” But it also dissects some of her key findings, such as She concluded that Trump was interested in certain materials because it included “medical documents, tax-related communications and accounting information,” and said “none of these concerns apply to roughly a hundred disputed secrets here. document.”
“The district court’s analysis of this factor did not address why or how the plaintiffs had a personal interest or need for confidential documents,” the panel wrote, adding that it was recognized that confidential documents could only be accessed. If a person “among other requests…need to know information.”
“This requirement applies equally to former presidents unless the current administration decides to waive it at its own discretion,” the panel wrote. “Plaintiff did not even attempt to show that he needed to know the information contained in the classified documents. Nor did he establish that the current administration had waived its demand for these documents. Even if he did, that in itself would not explain why Plaintiff had a personal interest in the classified documents.”
The panel dismissed Trump’s suggestion that he might declassify the documents while he was president, saying there was no evidence of that, and calling the argument a “diversion because declassifying an official document would not alter its content or make it personal. .”
“Thus, even if we assume that the plaintiff did decrypt some or all of the documents, it cannot explain why he had a personal interest in the documents,” the panel wrote.
The opinion also questioned the reasoning behind Cannon’s reference to her “inherent supervisory power,” saying she was “fleeting,” and did not specify whether she “used that power with respect to the disputed order in this appeal.”
“The District Court has not explained why the exercise of inherent power over classified-marked documents falls within these boundaries, other than relying on its Richey factor analysis. We have explained why this analysis is wrong,” the judge wrote, referring to is a legal standard established through the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals case in 1975 Rich v.Smith.
The panel said Trump’s argument that Cannon’s order still allows for national security assessments that are “indeed, in fact” inextricably linked to criminal investigations requires discernment that is “easier said than done.”
“Under this theory, officials overseeing national security and criminal investigations would be at risk of contempt of court, undoubtedly undermining their national security responsibilities,” the opinion said. “As such, delaying (or potentially preventing) a U.S. ban on the use of classified material in criminal investigations has the potential to cause real and significant harm to the United States and the public.”
Read the full order below:
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