Judge declines DoJ request to hold Trump team in contempt of court over Mar-a-Lago papers subpoena

Court proceedings were sealed depsite pressure from news organisations

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Friday 09 December 2022 23:44 GMT
Trump attacks ‘super radical left’ special counsel now handling investigations

A federal judge in Washington DC declined to hold Donald Trump or his legal team in contempt of court as the Department of Justice had requested at a court hearing on Friday, ABC News first reported.

The judge instead urged the Justice Department and the Trump legal team to resolve the dispute themselves.

Judge Beryl Howell was asked by prosecutors to hold the former president’s team in contempt over their failure to fully comply with a May subpoena for documents with classified markings that was directed to Trump’s custodian of records.

Friday’s proceedings were under seal and not public, despite lawyers for news organisations requesting access.

CNN reporters saw prosecutors, including the Justice Department’s counterintelligence chief Jay Bratt, and attorneys for former president Trump exiting the courthouse just before 3.30pm.

“The President and his counsel will continue to be transparent and cooperative, even in the face of the highly weaponized and corrupt witch-hunt from the Department of ‘Justice,’” Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung said in a statement.

“If the Department of ‘Justice’ can go after President Trump, they will surely come after any American who they disagree with,” Mr Cheung added. “President Trump is the only one who stands in the way of the un-American weaponization of law enforcement.”

A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.

The 100 or so documents the FBI took from Mar-a-Lago in August were on top of 37 bearing classification markings that Trump lawyers retrieved from the home during a June visit. In addition, 15 boxes containing about 184 classified documents were recovered in January by the National Archives and Records Administration.

The possibility that the Justice Department had not yet recovered all classified materials has existed for months, the Associated Press reports.

The FBI’s August search of the home came after investigators developed evidence indicating that additional sensitive documents remained there, even though Trump representatives had certified in June that all classified documents requested in a Justice Department subpoena had been located and returned.

The Trump lawyer who made that representation and who was serving as the custodian of his records at the time, Christina Bobb, met with the FBI in October. She told investigators that she had not drafted the letter but that another Trump lawyer who she said actually prepared it had asked her to sign it in her role as a designated custodian of Trump’s records, according to a person familiar with her account.

Earlier this week two additional documents with classification markings were found during a recent search of a storage unit in West Palm Beach, Florida that was arranged by Mr Trump’s lawyers. Those items were then turned over to the FBI.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in