The special master reviewing Mar-a-Lago records asked Trump’s team for proof that the FBI planted evidence at his home, as Trump has claimed.
Trump has repeatedly and publicly claimed the FBI illegally planted evidence when searching Mar-a-Lago.
This isn’t the first time Dearie has essentially asked Trump’s team to put their money where their mouth is.
The outside arbiter reviewing records seized from Mar-a-Lago has asked former President Donald Trump’s legal team to definitively say whether they believe the FBI planted evidence when it searched Trump’s Florida home.
Judge Raymond Dearie was appointed special master earlier this month and is tasked with sifting through the thousands of documents seized from Mar-a-Lago and filtering out those that may be covered by executive or attorney-client privilege.
On Thursday, he said in a new court filing that Trump’s legal team must submit, by September 30, a declaration or affidavit that includes “a list of any specific items set forth” in the FBI’s inventory of items removed from Mar-a-Lago that Trump “asserts were not seized from the Premises on August 8, 2022.”
The line appears to reference the former president’s public claim that the FBI planted evidence when executing a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago last month.
“Everyone was asked to leave the premises, they wanted to be alone,” he wrote on Truth Social on August 10, “without any witnesses to see what they were doing, taking or, hopefully not, ‘planting.'”
Thursday wasn’t the first time Dearie had essentially asked Trump’s lawyers to put their money where their mouth is and back up his public claims. His statements were all the more noteworthy given that Dearie was appointed after Trump’s lawyers pushed for a special master, and his name was on the list of candidates they submitted.
At a Tuesday hearing, the special master chided Trump’s team for wanting to “have your cake and eat it” after they refused to provide evidence that Trump had declassified all the documents seized from Mar-a-Lago.
Ahead of the hearing, Dearie had pressed the former president’s lawyers to confirm his claim that the records were declassified. Trump’s team resisted the request, however, saying that turning over that information would force Trump to “fully and specifically disclose a defense” that he might try to mount in the event of a “subsequent indictment.”
But Dearie didn’t appear to buy that argument, saying that if the former president’s attorneys didn’t give him evidence of declassification, he would side with the feds.
“As far as I’m concerned, that’s the end of it,” he said, later adding: “You can’t have your cake and eat it.”
In Thursday’s short filing, Dearie also referenced the Justice Department’s revelation that an FBI filter team had conducted an initial review of the Mar-a-Lago records and determined that roughly 500 pages could be covered by attorney-client privilege.
Noting that the government had provided Trump’s team with that initial set of documents, Dearie ordered Trump’s lawyers to decide by September 26 which of those items they want to assert privilege over. And he gave the former president’s team until October 14 to submit all their privilege claims.
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