The Supreme Court on Thursday denied a request from attorneys for former President Donald Trump asking for justices to intervene in a dispute with the Justice Department over documents seized from his Mar-a-Lago estate earlier this year.
In an order issued Thursday, justices declined to vacate an order earlier issued by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeals court order excluded classified documents seized by authorities from a review by an independent third party.
Officials said they recovered about 11,000 documents from a storage room at Mar-a-Lago and Trump’s private office in August, including about 100 bearing classification markings. Last month, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon ordered that the government stop reviewing the records until after a special master had the chance to review the documents. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals later sided with the government and stayed part of Cannon’s order, allowing the government to continue using the classified records in its criminal investigation.
Officials searched Mar-a-Lago three days after a judge approved a warrant as part of an investigation into possible violations of the Espionage Act, and into obstruction of justice and unlawful concealment or removal of government records. Authorities said the documents seized included some that were so sensitive that they required FBI and DOJ officials to get additional clearances before reviewing them.
Officials with the National Archives and Records Administration sought records from Trump throughout 2021 and got 15 boxes of miscellaneous papers — including more than 180 confidential records — in January, according to court records. Officials subsequently served the former president with a grand jury subpoena that prompted him to turn over 38 more classified documents in June, authorities said.
A representative of the president certified that the documents were the last confidential records in boxes taken from the White House to Mar-a-Lago after Trump’s presidency. However, officials said they later got information indicating that the former president had failed to turn over all records in his possession, prompting them to seek a warrant to search the estate.
The special master review of the documents remains ongoing.
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