DOJ Can Resume Using Classified Mar-A-Lago Raid Documents, Court Rules

The U.S. Eleventh Circuit Appeals Court allowed the U.S. Department of Justice Wednesday to temporarily use classified-marked documents seized in the FBI’s Mar-a-Lago raid for criminal investigation.

Judge Aileen M. Cannon picked Senior Judge Raymond J. Dearie as special master Sept. 15 to review everything the raid recovered and examine the FBI’s related conduct. The circuit court Wednesday approved the government’s request to permit them to keep the materials with classification markings for criminal investigation, pending appeal.

“It is self-evident that the public has a strong interest in ensuring that the storage of the classified records did not result in ‘exceptionally grave damage to the national security,’” the court’s ruling said. “Ascertaining that necessarily involves reviewing the documents, determining who had access to them and when, and deciding which (if any) sources or methods are compromised.”

Cannon’s original order for appointing a special master said the government must temporarily stop using raided documents for criminal investigative purposes. A Justice Department (DOJ) Privilege Review Team that examined raided materials found some might be protected by privilege.

Trump claimed in August that he learned the FBI seized privileged documents in the raid, according to The Hill.

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Cannon unsealed a list Aug. 30 showing the FBI took dozens of government documents marked “TOP SECRET,” “SECRET” or “CONFIDENTIAL,” as well as empty folders with “CLASSIFIED” banners. She later revealed that medical records, tax-related communications and accounting information were seized.

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