Former President Donald Trump's attorneys filed a new motion Wednesday, renewing calls for a special master to review documents seized in a search of his residence, which they say they will eventually argue was unconstitutional.
"Left unchecked, the DOJ will impugn, leak, and publicize selective aspects of their investigation with no recourse for Movant but to somehow trust the self-restraint of currently unchecked investigators," the lawyers' latest filing Wednesday read.
The motion used the "gratuitous" release of photos of the Mar-a-Lago search as proof the Department of Justice cannot be trusted with the handling of the documents seized from Trump's home.
"A search warrant has been executed at the home of a president," the motion read, laying out the circumstances. "It was conducted in the midst of the standard give-and-take between former presidents and NARA [National Archives and Records Administration] regarding presidential library contents, and with the Movant literally allowing DOJ lawyers and FBI investigators to come to his home and provide security advice.
"Soon after, and for the first time in history, an attorney general took to the podium to announce a willingness to unseal a warrant and property receipt, while eventually, and reluctantly, turning over a heavily redacted document that is more black than white.
"Even yesterday, the government's response gratuitously included a photograph of allegedly classified materials, pulled from a container and spread across the floor for dramatic effect."
Ultimately, because Trump was a U.S. president with authority over the documents from his administration, the lawyers argued, there was no "cause for alarm."
"Simply put, the notion that presidential records would contain sensitive information should have never been cause for alarm," the filing read.
The government has argued that it has already reviewed the files for privileged material and an alleged criminal cannot make a claim to have the documents returned under Rule 41(g), which was directly challenged by Trump's lawyers in this latest filing.
"In general, the government's argument is premature," it read. "Movant has not yet filed a Rule 41(g) motion, and the standard for relief under that rule is not relevant to the issue of whether the court should appoint a Special Master.
"At this stage, the movant has standing to seek the appointment of a Special Master, and in due time will establish standing to contest the unconstitutional search."
The filing concluded with a shot at President Joe Biden's Department of Justice and Attorney General Merrick Garland in pursuing their political opponent.
"The government pretends these are not historically important moments, telling this court that not only does it object to a Special Master, but that the movant should have no opportunity to challenge any aspect of this behavior and decision-making," the filing concluded.
"Rule 41 exists for a reason, and the movant respectfully asks that this court ensure enough fairness and transparency, even if accompanied by sealing orders, to allow the movant to legitimately and fulsomely investigate and pursue relief under that Rule.
"A fair-minded DOJ that truly embraced the highest ethical standards would, and should, agree."
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