The special master appointed to review documents federal agents seized at Donald Trump’s Florida estate has given the former president until next Friday to back up his allegation that the FBI planted evidence in the Aug. 8 search.
Following the FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Trump and his attorneys have publicly implied on multiple occasions without providing evidence that agents had planted evidence during the search. “Is someone planting information?” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform on August 12.
In a filing Thursday, Superior U.S. District Judge Raymond J. Dearie of New York, the court-appointed special master, ordered the government to turn over copies of all unclassified items seized in the case to Trump’s attorneys before of Monday.
He then ordered the Trump team to file a “declaration or affidavit” of inventory items removed from Mar-a-Lago that “Plaintiff asserts were not seized from the Facility,” meaning items that someone more placed there. .
Dearie also asked Trump’s attorneys to identify items that were seized by agents but are not listed in the inventory. “This filing will be Plaintiff’s last opportunity to raise any factual dispute as to the completeness and accuracy of the Detailed Property Inventory,” the judge wrote.
Both parties were ordered to appear for a status conference on October 2. 6.
The ruling was not the first time that Dearie, whom Trump’s team had proposed for the role of special teacher, pressed the former president’s lawyers for details about his allegations in the case.
Dearie previously asked Trump’s attorneys for more information about which of the more than 100 sensitive documents federal agents found at his country club might have been declassified.
While Trump has asserted in public statements that he could declassify materials by thinking about it, his lawyers’ arguments in court have been more limited. In the filings, they suggested that at least some of the White House documents he brought to Mar-a-Lago had been declassified, but never claimed that was the case.
Trump’s lawyers told the judge in a letter Monday that they didn’t want to release that information yet because it could force them to “disclose a defense on the merits of any subsequent prosecution” prematurely.
That issue was rendered moot Wednesday, when a federal appeals court ordered that the classified documents not be included in the special master’s review.