Special Counsel disputes claim from Trump attorneys over Giuliani case

Trump has sought to prevent the Department of Justice from reviewing the documents the FBI seized from his home on Aug. 8 while a court-appointed special master conducts an independent review.

Updated: November 25, 2022 - 4:39pm

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Special Counsel Jack Smith on Thursday contested a claim from former President Donald Trump's legal team in connection with the Department of Justice's investigation into materials stored at his Mar-a-Lago estate.

Trump attorney James Trusty had asserted to an appeals court that a case involving materials that federal authorities seized from former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani could serve as a roadmap for handling the Trump investigation.

Specifically, Trusty asserted that the court had enjoined the government from reviewing Giuliani's documents pending completion of a special master review. The DOJ did not use the seize materials as part of its investigation until after the special master review in that case, according to the Epoch Times.

"The question raised was whether a court has previously asserted equitable jurisdiction to enjoin the government from using seized materials in an investigation pending review by a special master. The answer is yes," Trusty asserted. "The process worked. On November 14, 2022, the United States filed a letter brief notifying the District Court that criminal charges were not forthcoming and requested the termination of the appointment of the special master."

Smith, however, disputed the claim, insisting that the government had voluntarily refrained from using the materials and that the court had not forbade them from doing so.

"As plaintiff recognizes, the court did not ‘enjoin the government,’ id.; instead, the government itself volunteered that approach,” Smith wrote in a brief to the court. "Moreover, the records there were seized from an attorney’s office, the review was conducted on a rolling basis, and the case did not involve a separate civil proceeding invoking a district court’s anomalous jurisdiction. None of those is true here."

Trump has sought to prevent the Department of Justice from reviewing the documents the FBI seized from his home on Aug. 8 while a court-appointed special master conducts an independent review. U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon initially granted that request but was overruled by an appeals court.

The Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed Smith as special counsel to conduct its investigations in connection with Trump after the former president announced his 2024 campaign.

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