Sunday, September 25, 2022

Republican attorneys file amicus brief in support of Trump in Mar-a-Lago raid

Republican attorneys file amicus brief in support of Trump in Mar-a-Lago raid

Eleven Republican attorneys general have filed an amicus brief in support of former President Donald Trump in his legal battle over the FBI raid of his Mar-a-Lago home last month, denouncing the search as a “ransacking” at the hands of the Biden administration.

The amicus brief, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, comes in response to the Justice Department’s appeal of a decision to block the agency from viewing classified documents taken from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home until they can be reviewed by a third party. The DOJ has argued delaying its investigation would harm national security, but the Republican attorneys general in their legal filing Tuesday said the agency’s intentions should be considered “through jaundiced eyes.”


“Joe Biden’s commitment to weaponizing the DOJ to go after political opponents should deeply concern all Americans,” Paxton said in a statement. “Given Biden’s track record, combined with his rhetoric demonizing anyone he disagrees with, the courts must be on high alert to the ways in which DOJ may abuse its power to punish President Donald Trump.”

The 21-page amicus brief describes four examples in which the Biden administration has “leveraged its power to engage in questionable political gamesmanship” as a way to convince the courts the DOJ cannot be trusted to have immediate access to the classified documents. These examples include measures the Biden administration took in response to the coronavirus pandemic as well as its enforcement of immigration laws, among other things.

An amicus brief, or “friend of the court” brief, is a legal document filed by parties that are not directly involved in the case at hand. However, they are usually submitted by legal experts who are offering information or insight they believe is helpful to reach a decision. Judges can decide whether to act on any opinions filed in an amicus brief.

The FBI seized more than 11,000 documents during its raid of the Mar-a-Lago residence, with several being considered the highest level of classification. The warranted search was part of an investigation by the Justice Department into whether or not Trump violated the Espionage Act by taking classified records after leaving the White House.

However, the department must put its investigation on hold while a third-party special master reviews the documents to ensure they do not violate any client-attorney or executive privileges. Judge Raymond Dearie, the appointed special master, has until Nov. 30 to complete his review.

The DOJ has appealed the decision to pause the criminal investigation, requesting access to some materials it believes cause “the most serious and immediate harm to the government and the public.” That request was made to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has not yet issued a decision.


Paxton was joined by 10 other attorneys general in signing the brief, including Ashley Moody of Florida, Todd Rokita of Indiana, Daniel Cameron of Kentucky, Jeff Landry of Louisiana, Lynn Fitch of Mississippi, Eric Schmitt of Missouri, Austin Knudsen of Montana, Alan Wilson of South Carolina, Sean Reyes of Utah, and Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia.

The Department of Justice did not respond to a request for comment by the Washington Examiner.

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