On Monday, former President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration seeking a review and inventory of every item removed from his home during the FBI’s “unprecedented” raid on Mar-a-Lago earlier this month. Trump also asked a judge to block investigators from examining the materials.
Trump lawyers Lindsey Halligan, James Trusty and Evan Corcoran filed the lawsuit, which accuses the federal government of refusing “to provide President Trump with any reason for the unprecedented, general search of his home.”
“To date, the Government has failed to legitimize its historic decision to raid the home of a president who had been fully cooperative,” reads the lawsuit, entitled Trump v. United States Government.
The lawsuit also blasted Attorney General Merrick Garland for his statement on the raid, in which Garland revealed he “personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant” to raid Trump’s home.
“This public statement is deeply troubling, given that 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,” the lawsuit states. “The statement clearly suggests that the decision to raid Mar-a-Lago a mere 90 days before the 2022 midterm elections, involved political calculations aimed at diminishing the leading voice in the Republican party, President Trump.”
The lawsuit seeks the appointment of a Special Master to review the materials seized during the raid. This third-party individual would determine if the items taken are protected by attorney-client privilege or executive privilege.
“According to the Government, the agents seized documents, privileged and/or potentially privileged materials, and other items – including photos, handwritten notes, and even President Trump’s passports – that were outside the lawful reach of an already overbroad warrant,” the lawsuit states.
“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,” it continues. “Law enforcement is a shield that protects Americans. It cannot be used as a weapon for political purposes.”
After the lawsuit was filed, Trump said in an emailed statement provided to American Military News that the “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.”
“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,” Trump continued. “They took my passports. They even brought a ‘safe cracker’ and successfully broke into my personal safe, which revealed…nothing!”
“The wrongful, overbroad warrant was signed by a Magistrate Judge who recused himself just two months ago, from a MAJOR civil suit that I filed, because of his bias and animus toward me,” Trump added.
The U.S. Department of Justice revealed in court filings last week that it opposes unsealing the affidavit that led to the search warrant approving the raid. The department claimed that unsealing the affidavit would compromise the investigation because it would provide a “roadmap to the government’s ongoing investigation” and expose “specific details about its direction and likely course.”
Judge Bruce Reinhart, who signed off on the warrant, pushed back on the Justice Department’s opposition to unsealing the affidavit, admitting that the raid was “unprecedented.”
“The Government argues that even requiring it to redact portions of the Affidavit that could not reveal agent identities or investigative sources and methods imposes an undue burden on its resources and sets a precedent that could be disruptive and burdensome in future cases,” Reinhart wrote, according to Fox News. “I do not need to reach the question of whether, in some other case, these concerns could justify denying public access; they very well might.”
“Particularly given the intense public and historical interest in an unprecedented search of a former President’s residence, the Government has not yet shown that these administrative concerns are sufficient to justify sealing,” he added.
Reinhart previously quit his job as a U.S. Attorney to represent accused accomplices of convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, a report revealed in the aftermath of the raid.