US judge asks Trump team to justify claims about FBI search | Donald Trump news

The former president claimed, without evidence, that the FBI may have planted documents during a search of Mar-a-Lago last month.

A US judge appointed to review documents seized from Donald Trump’s Florida home last month has ordered the former US president’s legal team to produce evidence to support Trump’s unsubstantiated claims that some of the files were planted by the FBI.

In a court filing Thursday, Raymond Dearie asked the Justice Department to confirm by Monday a detailed list of documents seized by the FBI in an Aug. 8 search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate.

He then asked Trump’s lawyers to submit by September 30 a list of specific items they believe were “not seized from the premises” during the search, and to submit any corrections to the US government’s asset list.

“This statement is that of the plaintiff [Trump’s] a final opportunity to raise any factual disputes about the completeness and accuracy of the detailed property listing,” Dearie wrote.

Dearie was appointed this month to act as a neutral third party, known as a special master, to review documents seized in the FBI search for any material covered by executive privilege or attorney-client privilege.

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, agreed to a request from the ex-president’s team to freeze the government’s review of the files until a special master can be appointed.

The Justice Department is investigating Trump’s possible mishandling of classified material in an unprecedented criminal investigation targeting the former president.

The Mar-a-Lago search warrant said federal agents are investigating possible violations of three different federal laws, including one that governs the collection, transfer or loss of defense information under the Espionage Act.

The unconfirmed asset receipt also revealed that the FBI seized 11 sets of classified documents, some of which were marked not only top secret, but also “section sensitive information.”

Trump’s legal team called the investigation “misleading,” saying U.S. law gives presidents “extraordinary discretion” to designate documents from their administration as presidential or personal.

The former president’s legal team has also questioned whether documents found at Mar-a-Lago marked “classified” were indeed classified files, suggesting Trump may have deleted them before leaving office.

In an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, Trump suggested that the FBI may have planted documents during the search.

“Your problem is that they go into rooms, they don’t let anyone near them; they wouldn’t even let them in the same building. Did they put anything in those files? Or did they do it later? There is no chain of custody with them here,” he said.

Meanwhile, a U.S. appeals court on Wednesday approved a Justice Department request to lift Cannon’s detention pending a records review.

The ruling was a landslide victory for the government, clearing the way for investigators to continue examining documents as they consider whether to bring criminal charges against Trump.