Trump seeks Supreme Court ruling in Mar-a-Lago dispute

Donald Trump

Ex-US President Donald Trump has asked the Supreme Court to intervene in the dispute over sensitive documents seized by the FBI during a search of his Florida estate in August.

Mr Trump wants the justices to allow a court-appointed arbiter, known as a special master, to vet the handful of files with classification markings.

Last month an appeals court exempted those 103 documents from the review.

The Supreme Court is expected decide on the matter within days.

In August, the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach in an investigation into whether Mr Trump and his aides mishandled government records or national security secrets.

In the weeks since the unprecedented incursion into a former president’s home, the Trump legal team has been challenging the Department of Justice (DoJ) by contending that the material is shielded from scrutiny under a legal doctrine known as executive privilege – which allows some presidential records to be kept private.

A Florida judge last month granted Mr Trump’s application for a special master, Brooklyn Judge Raymond Dearie, to vet the 11,000 documents taken from Mar-a-Lago.

But the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals later sided with the DoJ and barred Judge Dearie from reviewing the 103 documents with classification markings. That ruling allowed federal investigators to continue poring over the files.

Lawyers for Mr Trump argued in their 37-page filing on Tuesday that the special master should have access to the classified records to “determine whether documents bearing classification markings are in fact classified, and regardless of classification, whether those records are personal records or Presidential records”.

Mr Trump’s latest legal move was filed under the Supreme Court’s emergency docket, and the justices are thought likely to make a decision relatively quickly. The DoJ must file a response to the Trump filing by 11 October.

There is no guarantee that the court will take up Mr Trump’s request.

The court is dominated by six conservative justices, three of them appointed by Mr Trump.

But so far it has rejected his previous attempts to block disclosure of his White House records, and dismissed lawsuits to invalidate Mr Trump’s defeat in the 2020 presidential election.


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