Trump asks judge to reject Justice Department request to continue reviewing Mar-a-Lago documents

The former president's lawyers argued the government "has not proven" that the records seized during the FBI's raid "remain classified." 

Updated: September 12, 2022 - 12:06pm

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Attorneys for former President Donald Trump filed a motion Monday asking the federal judge overseeing the legal proceedings to reject the Justice Department's request to continue reviewing materials seized last month by the FBI from Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate. 

Trump's lawyers argued the government "has not proven" the materials seized during the raid "remain classified." 

Trump has argued since the raid that he had already declassified at least some of the materials taken by federal agents.

"The Government wrongfully seeks to criminalize the possession by the 45th President of his own Presidential and personal records," Trump's lawyers wrote in the filing to U.S. District Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida Aileen Cannon.

Under the Presidential Records Act, "a former President has an unfettered right of access to his Presidential records even though he may not 'own' them," they also argued.

The lawyers said the "determination of whether a former President timely provided documents to the National Archives and Records Administration is a civil matter."

The filing comes in opposition to the Justice Department's appeal for a Trump-requested, court-ordered special master – an independent, third-party overseer – to review the seized materials.

The Justice Department said that a special master reviewing the documents could cause "irreparable harm" to the federal investigation and national security.

The agency said officials are unable to review the seized documents after Cannon agreed last week to Trump's request for the special master.