A new filing in court from lawyers for former President Donald Trump working on the review by a special master of items seized in last month’s FBI raid of Mar-a-Lago claims the agency’s search swept up some 200,000 pages of materials.
That’s obviously, well, a lot, and Trump’s legal team is accordingly asking for a more elongated schedule than what the Justice Department is pushing. Previously, details circulated that 11,000 documents were seized in the FBI raid, and the ex-president’s lawyers claim they received the updated number for how many pages across which those individual documents extend from the government. Some suggested these new numbers, provided by the Trump team, might obscure key facts — for instance, there’s the problem of how much of what the Trump lawyers are referencing merely constitutes press materials, which would require less work in terms of the privilege review. In addition, the sheer size of the cache of seized items suggests Trump and his lawyers simply aren’t sure of everything taken by agents, and for someone accused of as many crimes as Trump, investigations of which are moving forward at various levels, that could be a headache.
“The problem is compounded by the fact that when Plaintiff’s counsel referred to either 11,000 pages or even 11,000 documents during the status conference (we are still awaiting the transcript), the Government chose not to interject with an accurate number,” the Trump legal team’s new court filing, dated Wednesday, said. “In conversations between Plaintiff’s counsel and the Government regarding a data vendor, the Government mentioned that the 11,000 documents contain closer to 200,000 pages. That estimated volume, with a need to operate under the accelerated timeframes supported by the Government, is the reason why so many of the Government’s selected vendors have declined the potential engagement. In short, seasoned IT professionals who routinely work on large-scale document productions with the Government cannot meet the Government’s proposed schedule, and it was never realistic for the Government to suggest such a narrow timeframe.”
The Trump lawyers’ filing pushes both a deadline in the middle of October for finalizing document production and consulting the vendor for the document review about a reasonable deadline. Prosecutors and the Trump team have worked together on setting up the review by a sought after vendor, which will entail making the docs more accessible in a digital platform and seemingly, at least in stages, precede an examination by the ex-president’s lawyers of the materials, which the filing separately mentions.
The look by Donald’s team at what was seized would allow for arguments about what is potentially covered by privilege of some sort. There were previously concerns about putting highly sensitive government materials taken in the Mar-a-Lago search through this review process, but those security worries became essentially moot after a three-judge panel on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Justice Department using docs marked classified for investigative purposes, leaving the review by the special master focusing on all that wasn’t marked classified.
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