Donald J. Trump v. United States, No. 22-81294 (AMC). Minute order entered September 2, 2022.
The federal district court in Florida has heard argument concerning the former president’s request for appointment of a Special Master and for other relief, and has directed that the government’s investigative status report and inventory of items seized at the Mar-a-Lago residence be unsealed, with an order to follow.
The federal investigative team has advised the court that it is reviewing materials seized at Mar-a-Lago, has separated them into items with classified markings and those without, has taken care to conform its work to that of a privilege review team.
The federal investigative team has advised the court that the review of the materials seized is in pursuit of an “ongoing criminal investigation.” The status report explains that materials are being reviewed for relevance to unstated charges:
The investigative team has reviewed the seized materials in furtherance of its ongoing investigation, evaluating the relevance and character of each item seized, and making preliminary determinations about investigative avenues suggested or warranted by the character and nature of the seized items. The seized materials will continue to be used to further the government’s investigation, and the investigative team will continue to use and evaluate the seized materials as it takes further investigative steps, such as through additional witness interviews and grand jury practice. Additionally, all evidence pertaining to the seized items — including, but not limited to, the nature and manner in which they were stored, as well as any evidence with respect to particular documents of interest — will inform the government’s investigation. Thus, it is important to note, “review” of the seized material is not a single investigative step but an ongoing process in this active criminal investigation.
Notice by Investigative Team of Status of Review, page 2.
The status report is clear that the review of seized materials is not in support of conclusions reached with respect to any violations of criminal or civil law, but in support of investigation of whether any violations of criminal or civil law may have occurred. The review team is clear that such materials may be used in grand jury proceedings.
Should materials become part of grand jury proceedings, disclosure of the nature of any such materials would become highly restricted in accordance with Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure 6(e).
The status report notes that a federal agency is also reviewing the materials seized to determine the threat to national security should such documents be released.
The government investigators have assured the court that due care has been and will be exercised to consider whether any materials are subject to the attorney client privilege.
The newly unsealed inventory provides information about the place from which materials were seized, the number of items in each container, and the nature of the items, such as “magazines” or “newspapers”, clothing, gift items, books, photographs, or items with classification markings.