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PALM BEACH, FL – Lawyers representing former President Trump filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice on Monday, calling for the appointment of a special master to review materials that were seized from his Mar-A-Lago estate during a raid conducted by the FBI on August 8.
On the day in question, the FBI served a search warrant at Trump’s Florida residence that reportedly uncovered as many as 300 classified and top secret documents that the 45th President had taken with him upon leaving the White House; documents that Trump claims he had declassified, although it is currently unknown if this is actually the case or not.
Trump’s attorneys on Monday asked that the FBI be barred from examining the documents taken from Mar-A-Lago during the raid until a special master – a non-partial third party, typically a retired judge – can be appointed to determine if any of the materials are protected by attorney-client privilege or other legal doctrines.
In addition, Trump’s lawyers are insisting on being provided with a more detailed inventory of the items that were taken during the raid in order to determine if anything fell outside of the scope of the search warrant obtained by the FBI from a federal judge, such as his passports which have been returned.
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In the complaint filed on Monday, Trump’s lawyers argued that the FBI’s decision to search his property – the former President was in New York at the time – has yet to be properly backed by evidence of any wrongdoing, and claims that Fourth Amendment had been violated as a result.
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution specifically protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government, however, is not a guarantee against all searches and seizures, but only those that are deemed unreasonable under the law.
“To date, the Government has failed to legitimize its historic decision to raid the home of a President who had been fully cooperative,” the complaint said.
Trump himself issued a statement following the announcement of his lawsuit against the DOJ, claiming that the FBI search had been completely without merit because he had already been willing to return the documents in question to the National Archives.
“This Mar-a-Lago Break-In, Search, and Seizure was illegal and unconstitutional,” Trump said. “And we are taking all actions necessary to get the documents back, which we would have given to them without the necessity of the despicable raid of my home, so that I can give them to the National Archives until they are required for the future Donald J. Trump Presidential Library and Museum.”
In response to Trump’s lawsuit, DOJ spokesman Anthony Coley said, “The Aug. 8 search warrant at Mar-A-Lago was authorized by a federal court upon the required finding of probable cause. The Department is aware of this evening’s motion. The United States will file its response in court.”