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Tipsheet

Trump Files New Motion in Mar-a-Lago Raid Saga

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

On Monday afternoon, attorneys for former President Donald Trump filed a motion in the ongoing saga of the FBI's raid on his "Southern White House" Mar-a-Lago. 

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Their request: appoint a special master to review what the FBI seized during their hours-long raid — that included a search of former First Lady Melania Trump's closet — and an injunction to prevent federal investigators from reviewing contents of the seizure until a special master can be appointed.

The filing also moved for more detailed information to be provided about what was taken from the 45th president's Palm Beach home and demands that any items taken from Mar-a-Lago that weren't enumerated on the search warrant be returned to Trump.

"Politics cannot be allowed to impact the administration of justice," the 27-page filing reads. "President Donald J. Trump is the clear frontrunner in the 2024 Republican Presidential Primary and in the 2024 General Election, should he decide to run," it notes before further explaining the motion is based on a Fourth Amendment claim:

President Trump, like all citizens, is protected by the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Property seized in violation of his constitutional rights must be returned forthwith.

Law enforcement is a shield that protections Americans. It cannot be used as a weapon for political purposes. Therefore, we seek judicial assistance in the aftermath of an unprecedented and unnecessary raid on President Trump's home at Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Florida. 

From the moment that the Government informed Movant, though counsel, that a search was underway, he demanded transparency. Movant asked the government the questions that any American citizen would ask under the circumstances, namely:

  • Why raid my home with a platoon of federal agents when I have voluntarily cooperated with your every request?
  • What are you trying to hide from the public—given that you requested that I turn off all home security cameras, and even refused to allow my attorneys to observe what your agents were doing?
  • Why have you refused to tell me what you took from my home?
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The motion further lays out Trump's desire to know more about what documents were seized after the receipt for property signed by a Trump lawyer from the August 8th raid was previously unsealed but didn't provide significant detail. 

For instance, the Government has informed counsel for President Trump that privileged and/or potentially privileged documents were among the items taken from his home. But the Government has refused to provide any information regarding the nature of these documents...Protecting the integrity of these documents is important not only to Movant but also to the institution of the Presidency.

As Townhall previously reported, Trump's passports were not listed on the receipt, but the Justice Department had taken them and subsequently returned them.

The full motion can be viewed here as filed, and continues explaining Trump's case for why a special master is necessary to review the items seized from Mar-a-Lago, provide a detailed receipt of the items, and a swift return of any documents or property not germane to the search warrant. 

In another portion of the motion, Trump's lawyers state that "the Government made no response at all to President Trump's invitation to help reduce public consternation with the Government after the raid" before criticizing Attorney General Merrick Garland's press conference about the Mar-a-Lago raid as "an ill-founded reaction to the public outcry that followed the raid on President Trump's home."

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Among the other issues raised by Trump's lawyers in the filing are concerns that the search warrant was "facially overbroad," that Biden's Justice Department has engaged in "extraordinarily unusual conduct," and allegations that the DOJ has "sought to improperly evade limitations on enforcing the Presidential Records Act."

"We have just filed a motion in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida strongly asserting my rights, including under the Fourth Amendment of our Constitution, regarding the unnecessary, unwarranted, and unAmerican Break-In by dozens of FBI agents, and others, of my home, Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Florida," Trump said in a statement Monday evening:

They demanded that the security cameras be turned off, a request we rightfully denied. They prevented my attorneys from observing what was being taken in the raid, saying “absolutely not.” They took documents covered by attorney-client and executive privilege, which is not allowed. They took my passports. They even brought a “safe cracker” and successfully broke into my personal safe, which revealed…nothing!

[...]

This Mar-a-Lago Break-In, Search, and Seizure was illegal and unconstitutional, and we are taking all actions necessary to get the documents back, which we would have given to them without the necessity of the despicable raid of my home, so that I can give them to the National Archives until they are required for the future Donald J. Trump Presidential Library and Museum.

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The Justice Department issued a statement Monday night in response, saying "The Aug. 8 search warrant at Mar-a-Lago was authorized by a federal court upon the required finding of probable cause." Spokesman Anthony Coley said DOJ "is aware of this evening's motion" and the "United States will file its response in court."

The motion from Trump's legal team follows federal Judge Bruce Reinhart's ruling that denied the Justice Department's request that the entire affidavit used to obtain the Mar-a-Lago search warrant remain under seal. 

This is a developing story and may be updated.

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