Judge appoints neutral special expert in Trump scandal over hoarded secret documents

Judge appoints neutral special expert in Trump scandal over hoarded secret documents

Nach Razzia in Mar-a-Lago
Severe defeat for Trump: Court of Appeals allows investigation of confiscated secret documents

Comes under increasing pressure for hoarding classified information in his private home: Ex-US President Donald Trump (archive image)

© Mandel Ngan / AFP

Rapid turnaround in the Donald Trump documents affair: After a judge blocked the US Department of Justice’s examination of the papers, an appeals court overturned the decision in summary proceedings.

In the case of the secret documents confiscated from Donald Trump, a federal appeals court has given the US Department of Justice access to the classified information again. The summary judgment of the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, Georgia, unblocks the documents by Federal District Judge Aileen Cannon of Florida. At the request of Trump’s lawyers, Cannon had commissioned a neutral so-called special master to examine the documents and had denied investigators access to them until then. The Justice Department had appealed.

Court rejects arguments by Donald Trump

The Georgia verdict comes as a major blow to Trump, who claimed he declassified some of the papers labeled “top secret,” and to his attorneys, who have argued that some of the seized materials are attorney-client privilege or under- privileged the “executive privilege” could fall. Executive privilege is the right of a US president to keep certain information about the activities of his office secret from Congress or the judiciary.

The panel of three judges, two of whom were appointed by Trump, clearly rejected this argument: The ex-president presented no evidence that he had released the sensitive documents and also no “individual interest in or need for” them about 100 documents with classification markings detected.

“The plaintiff did not even try to prove that he needed to know the information contained in the classified information,” the US broadcaster NBC News quoted from the court’s statement.

Trump “has no vested interest in the documents in question, so he will not suffer any discernible harm if the United States examines documents that he neither owns nor has a personal interest in,” the judges said, according to CNN . In addition, the plaintiff’s claim that he would be harmed by a criminal investigation is unconvincing.

Certain documents are classified because they contain information that could harm national security, and only those with a need to know should have access to them, the judges said. “This requirement also applies to previous Presidents, unless the current administration, in its sole discretion, waives this requirement,” they wrote, adding that Trump has not demonstrated that President Joe Biden’s administration did so.

Investigators are reviewing criminal charges against Trump

In its appeal, the Justice Department complained that Cannon – a Trump-appointed judge – obstructed the investigation and brushed aside national security concerns by temporarily blocking the documents. The Appellate Body shared the ministry’s concerns.

“It is clear that the public has a strong interest in ensuring that the preservation of classified documents has not resulted in ‘extraordinarily serious harm to national security,'” the judges said. “To determine this, the documents must be examined to determine who had access to them and when, and to decide what (if any) sources or methods were compromised.”

An injunction that delays criminal investigations or prevents the use of classified information risks causing “real and significant harm to the United States and the public.”

With its decision, the court in Georgia has removed an obstacle that could have delayed the investigation by weeks. The way is now open for the Justice Department to further review the classified documents the FBI seized in its Aug. 8 raid on Mar-Aa-Lago to decide whether to press charges against Trump for preserving the documents must.

The Special Master, Judge Raymond Dearie, can also continue his work. But he is only allowed to review the rest of the confiscated material to ensure that records belonging to Trump or that he may classify as confidential are not being used by investigators.

Trump’s opportunities to block the criminal investigation, however, are almost exhausted. But he could still submit an emergency motion to the Supreme Court.

Sources: Documentcloud, CNN, NBC News, Associated Press

Source link & submitted by Newsicon.org
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