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Special master in Mar-a-Lago case appears skeptical of Trump ‘declassification’ claims

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The special master appointed to review documents seized by federal agents at former President Donald Trump’s Florida building appeared suspicious Tuesday over Trump’s claim that he had declassified several highly classified and other highly sensitive documents that had been found. there.

The special gentleman, Chief US District Judge Raymond J. Deere of New York, has asked Trump’s attorney for more information about which of the more than 100 sensitive documents from federal agents found at his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach may have been declassified. about her. Trump’s lawyers told the judge in a letter Monday evening that they did not want to release the information yet because it could force them to “prematurely disclose a defense of the merits of any subsequent indictment.”

At a federal court hearing in Brooklyn, Deere noted that the case is a civil dispute, not a criminal one, but said he takes the government’s national security concerns seriously.

“Let’s not underestimate the fact that we are dealing with at least classified potentially legitimate information. The government has a very strong obligation, as we all do, to make sure this information does not fall into the wrong hands,” he said. Derry, a former Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge appointed by President Ronald Reagan to New York federal court.”

While the Trump dossier claimed that neither side provided evidence that the documents were classified, Deere said the government provided “virtual evidence” of the documents because they had hashtags.

“To me, that’s the end of it,” Deere said, unless the Trump team has some evidence to the contrary.

Trump claimed on social media that he declassified all records in his possession, but his attorneys have not formally made that argument in any court filing.

Trump’s attorney, James Trosti, stressed that “we should not be in a position to release statements” and witness statements about the designation issue. Derry suggested that their failure to do so might be a problem for their cause.

“My point is, you can’t have your cake and eat it,” Derry said.

Justice Department attorney Julie Edelstein noted that some of the documents are “so sensitive that even members of the team investigating potential crimes here have not yet obtained clearances to view these documents.” She said that although Trusty had a top-secret clearance, that “would not be enough to see the number of documents involved in this case”.

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Trusty described Edelstein’s argument as “kind of surprising”. He said: “It is an astonishing turn to be denied even if a single lawyer has access to documents that constitute a justification for their reach.”

“It’s a matter that needs to be known. And if you want to know, you will,” Deere told Trump’s lawyer. He also suggested that he would try to avoid reviewing some of the more sensitive documents – and that he would prevent Trump’s lawyers from seeing them, too.

“I don’t want to see the material – presumably sensitive material,” he said, adding that if he could make his recommendations to the judge who ordered them “without exposing myself or you to this material, I would he-she.”

“On the other hand, if I can’t, we have to take another alternative,” he said.

Deere said he would issue a scheduling order later Tuesday, and noted that “there are 11,000 documents” in contention, saying “we have a short period of time” to review them for franchise issues.

Trusty Dearie urged not to move too quickly. He said the Trump team is “starting from scratch” and will take advantage of “sufficient time to look at all the documents.”

U.S. District Judge Eileen Cannon, a Trump-appointed judge in Florida, agreed to the former president’s request to appoint a special master to review evidence this month and ordered the Justice Department to halt a criminal investigation of recovered documents while they await review. Cannon said the assessment of damages in any misuse of documents could continue, but the Department of Justice said a criminal investigation was a necessary part of the assessment, and it appealed its order.

In a lawsuit Tuesday, Trump’s lawyers said the 11th U.S. Court of Appeals should reject the government’s request to block Cannon’s ruling, calling the investigation “unprecedented and misleading” and calling it a “document storage dispute that has escalated dramatically over control.”

Trump’s attempt to sue in the Court of Appeals was backed by a coalition of 11 Republican attorneys general, who noted that the “looting” of Trump’s home was politically motivated and argued that Cannon’s order should be left as is because of the Biden administration’s “soakness.” Most supported the lawsuit. to challenge the results of the 2020 elections and were rejected by the Supreme Court.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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