wall street journal
Special Master Judge Raymond Deary, who oversees the seizure of documents from Mar-a-Lago, indicated Tuesday to attorneys for former President Donald Trump that if they do not make a case that any documents have been declassified, he will This will determine whether they are classified.
Out of court, Trump has claimed that he has declassified all documents, and his lawyers have raised that possibility in court papers, although he has never explicitly argued that anything was declassified.
Federal prosecutors have argued for weeks that documents seized from Mar-a-Lago that contain classification marks — such as “top secret” — should be classified.
During a hearing on Tuesday, Dearie essentially fell for Trump, saying that Trump’s lawyers have yet to provide any evidence of declassification.
“If the Government gives me prima facie evidence that they are classified documents, and you do not pursue any claim of declassification, then I have a prima facie case of classified documents left, and as far as I am concerned, That’s the end of it,” said Dearie.
Trump’s lawyer, Jim Trustee, said they are not in a position to fully disclose their defense or specifically address the declassification issue until they see the document.
Trump is in front of the special master after successfully suing to get the review.
His team had put forward Dearie as a potential candidate for the job, and the Justice Department did not oppose him.
Since Dearie stepped into the role, however, the Trump team has indicated some objections to how they had planned for the review.
On Monday, Trump’s lawyers indicated in a letter to Dearie that they are resisting any move to declassify related documents to make certain disclosures. The letter also suggested pushing back some of the interim timelines proposed by Dearie.
Dearie is tasked with reviewing 11,000 documents seized by the FBI in the Mar-a-Lago search last month.
U.S. District Judge Eileen Cannon, who granted Trump’s request for a Special Master, also barred the Justice Department from using the confiscated material in its criminal investigation while the Special Master does his job. The Justice Department is currently asking an appeals court to block Cannon’s order partly because it pertains to nearly 100 documents marked as classified that the FBI obtained in the search.