Washington: A federal court in West Palm Beach on Friday unsealed more documents tied to the FBI’s unprecedented August 8 search of former president Donald Trump’s Florida home after media outlets asked for the records to be made public.
The inventory shows that 43 empty folders with classified banners were taken from a box or container at the office, along with an additional 28 empty folders labelled as “Return to Staff Secretary” or military aide. Empty folders of that nature were also found in a storage closet.
The unsealing by US District Judge Aileen Cannon came one day after she heard oral arguments by Trump’s attorneys and the Justice Department’s top two counterintelligence prosecutors over whether, at Trump’s request, she should appoint a special master to conduct a privilege review of the seized materials.
Cannon deferred ruling immediately on whether to appoint a special master, but said she would agree to unseal two records the Justice Department had filed under seal.
One of the records released on Friday provides a little more detail about the 33 boxes and other items the FBI found inside Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate during an ongoing criminal investigation into whether the former president illegally retained national defence information and tried to obstruct the probe.
It shows that documents with classification markings were at times mingled with books, magazines and newspaper clippings.
In addition to records labelled as “top secret,” “secret” and “confidential,” there were also empty folders.
Some empty folders had a banner marked “classified”, while others indicated that they should be returned to staff secretary/military aide.