The Department of Justice released a more detailed inventory of items they confiscated from former President Donald Trump’s Florida home.
Among the items seized during the ten-hour raid of Mar-a-Lago were 18 pieces of “evidence” the FBI labeled as an “Article of Clothing/Gift Item”, according to a Fox News report. It is unclear how clothing would constitute evidence of “Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information.”
Justice Department lawyers did not mention how articles of clothing could help their investigation concerning documents transported from the Oval Office to Mar-a-Lago. Maybe they did not mention why because the garments were unmentionables, seized from Melania Trump’s closet. If FBI agents seized bras or panties belonging to the former First Lady, they would have a hard time justifying seizing them. That may explain the lack of detail from federal lawyers.
The government lawyers released the more detailed accounting because they were required to by Florida District Court Judge Aileen Cannon. Judge Cannon ordered the DOJ to provide a more granular look at what they took from Trump’s home to help her decide whether to appoint a Special Master.
Lawyers for the former president argued in a motion filed in District Court that some, if not most, documents seized by armed federal agents were covered by either attorney/client or Executive privilege. A Special Master is usually a retired judge or legal scholar the appointing judge considers very knowledgeable in the areas under question.
The Justice Department argued in a return motion to Judge Cannon that the point is moot because they have reviewed all the documents already. The judge said the legal equivalent of “not so fast!” She has reserved judgement on whether she will appoint a Special Master. If she does, the Special Master could rule some, or all, seized documents should not be reviewable by Justice Department lawyers. That would mean those documents would not be able to be used as evidence in the DOJ investigation against Trump.
The government claim they searched Trump’s home to investigate a violation of federal laws: 18 USC 793 — Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information; 18 USC 2071 — Concealment, removal or mutilation; and 18 USC 1519 — Destruction, alteration or falsification of records in Federal investigations.